European Innovation Council


In contrast with its global leading position in science, Europe lags behind in bringing innovative ideas to the market. Many start-ups have difficulties to make it beyond the critical first few years, facing a lack of finance to scale up into global businesses, and many of them leave Europe. The idea of a European Innovation Council (EIC) is part of the European Commission's effort to give innovative companies better opportunities to become world leading enterprises. The EIC pilot phase was launched on 27 October 2017 as part of the Horizon 2020 work programme 2018-20. The EIC pilot will be acting as a one-stop-shop for innovation funding. With a budget of € 2.7 billion for the next three years. the Commission expects to fund 1,000 projects.

The goals of the European Innovation Council are:

  • Putting Europe at the forefront of market-creating innovation (fundamentally different from existing markets, e.g. through a new combination of physical and digital issues, of products and services, of technologies and business models).
  • Providing EU added value by focusing on innovators / companies with the potential to scale up at European and/or international level.
  • Intervening where private investors are unable to get a loan (e.g. due to higher technology, market, regulatory risks associated with market creating innovation), with the aim of crowding in private investment
  • Complementing existing EU innovation initiatives that focus on established markets / technologies / sectors (e.g. through public-private partnerships, development of technology roadmaps/ sectoral strategies, etc.).

The European Commission is supported by by a High Level Group of Innovators in developing the EIC. The group has as an initial mandate of two years, which may be renewed. It will base its work on the results of evidence gathered by the Commission, including the results of a "call for ideas" carried out in spring 2016, and of the Interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 carried out in spring 2017.

EIC website (European Commission)

EIC Info Sheet