This programme is primarily aimed at innovators operating in the scaling up and/or creation of new markets, with the Commission specifically citing quantum computing, new generation batteries, and gene therapy as examples.
The funding will be split amongst three divisions of the EIC:
EIC Pathfinder will receive €350 million and be earmarked for research teams to pursue their ambitions,
EIC Transition with €131 million is designated to help convert EIC Pathfinder research projects into fledgling companies.
While the EIC Accelerator garners the lions’ share with €1.16 billion and will be used to, as the name implies, accelerate the scaling-up phase for startups and SMEs.
All projects under the EIC’s purview have access to its Business Acceleration Services unit which, “provides coaches, mentors and expertise, partnering opportunities with corporates, investors and others, and a range of other services and events.”
Building on the progress of the first iteration of the programme, the 2022 edition will see the addition of several new elements including a stronger initiative to support women founders.
Through the development of an innovation gender and diversity index, the program seeks to identify gaps and encourage diversity within companies, all the while, providing sound and consistent information to stakeholders including investors, funders, customers, and policymakers.
To further support this initiative, the 2022 EU Prize for Women Innovators will see the addition of two new prizes for innovators under 35, now upping the number of prizes awarded from four to six. Three prizes will be awarded to the most inspiring women innovators across the EU and the countries associated with Horizon Europe, and three prizes to the most promising ‘Rising Innovators' under the age of 35.
In a statement, Commissioner Mariya Gabriel concluded, “The European Innovation Council has already supported 4 unicorns and more than 90 centaurs. The work programme for this year is backed by the biggest ever annual funding for visionary entrepreneurs and researchers, as well as new measures to support female innovators and scale-ups. Europe is committed to supporting innovation and new technologies and we are on track to meet our ambition to make the EIC Europe's unicorn factory.”