The European Commission reorganized its directorate general for research and innovation (RTD). The reorganization was effective last May and a new organizational chart was published. The chart revealed the transfer of management of the European Innovation Council (EIC) funding programme to the directorate for the European Research Area and Innovation. Ms. Anna Panagopoulou leads this directorate.
In fact, this restructuring recognizes the political importance of scaling up tech companies. Moreover, it helps ensure effective technology transfer from lab to market.
To support this vision, the EU plans to play a more active role in promoting company growth. Measures include:
- improving access to finance for start-ups,
- simplifying listing rules for public stock exchanges,
- updating regulatory sandboxes,
- providing deep tech training for one million people, and
- introducing clearer innovation terminology and indicators.
Indeed, the European Innovation Council is now a central element of the EU’s strategy to increase investments in advanced technologies and their scaling up. Under the new structure, the Commission will oversee certain EIC’s aspects. Moreover, these changes seem to indicate that negotiations for the next EU’s framework research program, succeeding Horizon Europe in 2028, will prioritize the promotion of deep tech investments.
The Accelerator Programme gets a substantial portion (€7 billion) of EIC’s total €10 billion fund. The Accelerator Programme covers direct equity investments in start-ups. The budget directorate general raised concerns about the Commission’s limited expertise in conducting due diligence and assessing viable start-up investments.
In response, fund manager AlterDomus will assume management of the Accelerator fund in September. Also, to ensure stability, Michiel Scheffer became head of the European Innovation Council board in March. He is a former member of the EU Committee of the Regions.
In addition to the new EIC unit in Panagopoulou’s directorate, the Commission established a joint unit for research infrastructures and open science. Furthermore, two advisers have been appointed to focus on research careers and access to finance for innovation.
These changes within Panagopoulou’s directorate follow the recent appointment of Marc Lemaitre as director general of RTD. Sources suggest that Lemaitre is preparing for a comprehensive reshuffling of roles at RTD to align with his vision for the future of EU research and innovation policy.
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