The European Innovation Council has recently launched an EIC Accelerator Challenges focused on green deal innovations for the economic recovery.
The EIC Accelerator Challenges supports companies–start-ups and SMEs, in particular–to scale up high-impact innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones in identified areas of strategic relevance.
It focuses on innovations building on scientific discovery or technological breakthroughs–falling under the “deep tech” category. In addition, it focuses on areas where significant funding is needed over a long timeframe before the generation of returns. This is known as “patient capital”.
While the Accelerator Open finances innovations in every technological/application field, the Accelerator Challenges supports strategic high-risk and high-impact technologies.
In particular, the EIC Accelerator Challenges is open to innovations in the specific fields of technology or application described by the specific challenges in 2021 EIC Work Programme. However, EIC will not support: innovations that harm in any way either the environment or the social welfare of any society; innovations that are primarily designed for military purposes.
In the case of this specific call, the drive is environmental awareness.
Green Deal innovations call: Who should apply?
A company should definitely apply if the project support the Green Deal implementations. This means that the project significantly contributes to at least one of the following sustainability goals:
- Increasing the EU’s climate mitigation and/or adaptation ambition;
- Supplying clean, affordable and secure energy;
- Transitioning of industry to a clean and/or circular economy (including waste prevention and/or recycling);
- Building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way;
- Accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility;
- Transition to a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system;
- Preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity (including nature-based solutions that provide co-benefits for climate adaptation and mitigation);
- Realizing a zero-pollution ambition and a toxic-free environment.
Specific priority is given to projects relating to key innovations for the green economic transition as identified in the Recovery Plan for Europe.
In fact, at least 50% of the companies selected for the interview phase must have proposals covering one these areas:
- Renewable energy, including renewable Hydrogen and energy storage
- Deep Renovation of buildings
- Low carbon industries
- Batteries and other energy storage systems
Conditions, documentations and rules
First of all, in order to apply, you must meet one of the following eligibility conditions:
- Be a single company classified as a SME and established within a Member State or an Associated Country (see Annex 3 of 2021 EIC Work Programme);
- Be a single company classified as a ‘Small mid-cap’ (up to 500 employees) established in a Member State or an Associated Country. However, your application can only be for rapid scale-up purposes (e.g., Technology Readiness Level 9) and only for the investment component;
- Be one or more natural persons (including individual entrepreneurs) or legal entities, which are either:
- from a Member State or an Associated Country (for Associated Countries other than EEA, this possibility will be subject to the related association agreements) intending to establish an SME or small mid-cap (as defined above) in a Member State or Associated Country by the time of signing the Accelerator contract or, in the case blended finance is awarded, at the latest when agreeing on its investment component;
- intending to invest in an SME or small mid-cap in a Member State or an Associated Country and who may submit a proposal on behalf of that SME or small mid-cap, provided that a prior agreement exists with the company. The contract will be signed with the beneficiary company only;
- from a non-associated third country intending to establish an SME (including start-ups) or to relocate an existing SME to a Member State or an Associated Country, by the time of submitting a full application. Your company must prove its effective establishment in a Member State or an Associated Country. The Commission may set specific conditions and milestones in the contract to ensure that the interest of the Union is met.
Annexes 2 and 3 of the 2021 EIC Work Programme detail eligible Associated Countries and standard admissibility and eligibility conditions.
One can only submit an application a certain number of times.
If you are currently a participant in an eligible project funded by Horizon Europe or Horizon 2020, then you may be able to apply through your existing project under the Fast Track scheme (Annex 4). This scheme is managed by the funding body responsible for the existing project. For 2021, it applies to funding bodies managing grants under the EIC Pathfinder and Transition (including EIC pilot 2018-20); ERC Proof of Concept; and Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
Also, applicants may be able to apply if they have a project financed by an eligible programme managed by a a Member State or an Associated Country under the pilot Plug-in scheme. Annex 5 describes the Plug-in scheme to apply to the EIC Accelerator.
Proposal page limits and layout: you must prepare your application (Short and Full Applications) on the EIC artificial intelligence-based IT platform via on-line forms. For so, you will answer a series of questions.
1. Short Applications
- An on-line form where you must summarise your proposal and respond to questions on your innovation, potential market and team;
- A pitch-deck of up to 10 slides following a set format;
- A 3-minute video pitch where up to 3 core members of your team provide the motivation for the application.
2. Full Applications
- An on-line form that follows a methodology embedded in the EIC artificial intelligence-based IT platform that produces a full and detailed business plan with information on you company’s finances and structure;
- A pitch-deck to be used if invited to the interviews.
Moreover, one must must pay attention to the Financial and operational capacity and exclusion (Annex 2).
Lastly, regarding the Evaluation and Award. Sections II.3 III.3 describe the Award criteria, scoring and thresholds. These sections also detail the submission and evaluation processes and indicate a timeline for evaluation and grant agreement.
Of note: Applicants from the United Kingdom can apply to the EIC Accelerator. However, they can only request and receive funding in the form of “grant only”. The signature of any grant agreement is subject to the positive conclusion of the association negotiation with the United Kingdom.
Call documents and annexes:
Do you qualify for the call on Green Deal innovations?
Click here to apply!
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