EIC Accelerator helps you develop your business concept further into a market-ready product, service or process aligned with your company’s growth strategy. Activities could, for example, include trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real-world conditions, and market replication. If the activity concerns a primarily technological innovation, a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6-8 is envisaged for projects requesting grants only. If successful projects will receive between € 0.5 and € 2.5 million in the form of grants. Projects should normally take 12 to 24 months to complete and this largely depends on the TRL and the Go-to-Market plan implementation. From 5 June 2019 the EIC Accelerator offers blended finance in the form of an optional investment in equity in addition to the grant, to for-profit SMEs. While grants can only fund activities from TRL 6-8, the investment in equity (up to € 15 million) can fund also TRL 9.

What Does TRL Mean?

Technology Readiness Levels ranking (TRLs) is a method for understanding and assessing the maturity of a technology during its development phase. TRLs allow engineers and economists to have a consistent datum of reference for understanding technology evolution, regardless of their technical background.

What Do TRLs Measure?

Originally developed by NASA in the 1970s for space exploration technologies, TRLs measure the maturity level of a technology throughout its research, development and deployment progression. TRLs are based on a scale from 1 to 9, with 9 being the most mature technology.

Therefore, Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are a method of estimating technology maturity of Critical Technology Elements (CTE) of a program during the acquisition process. They are usually determined during a Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) that examines program concepts, technology requirements, and demonstrated technology capabilities. AFS performs informal, yet deep and thorough assessment in pre-evaluation phase of onboarding of projects. The use of TRLs enables consistent, uniform, discussions of technical maturity across different types of technologies. Decision makers both public and private often consider the recommended TRLs when assessing a project risk. So do the VCs, the institutional investors and most HNWI and Family investment offices.

Many organisations have implemented TRLs for their own purposes, with certain organisations, such as the European Union (EU), further normalising the NASA readiness-level definitions, allowing for easier translation to multiple industry sectors.

The EU defines the nine levels as follows:

Referencing Technology Readiness Levels

Systematic referencing of TRLs is required, allowing a technology to evolve from conception through to research, development and deployment. Universities, along with government funding sources, focus on TRLs 1-4, while the private sector focuses on TRLs 7-9.

The term ‘Valley of Death’ represents the often neglected addressing of TRLs 4 through to 7, where neither academia nor the private sector prioritise investment. Consequently, many technologies, albeit promising, finish their maturity journey prior to deployment, and this is exactly where Horizon Programme and its Accelerator scheme takes over.

To bridge the valley of death, collaborative efforts are often required. Andriotto Financial Services has a long history of working with its Members and academia, across a range of industry sectors, to fulfil this need.  It also works with SMEs and under the framework of EIC to help innovation evolve to marketable product or service. This is also helped by the fact that Mauro Andriotto is a member of the valuation experts used by EIC to assess projects that apply under the programme.