European Innovation Council (pilot)

The market for new technologies is rapidly changing and Europe must develop its innovation capacity to remain competitive in the international market. Transforming scientific discoveries into concrete businesses creation is crucial. To this end, the European Commission has put in place a European Innovation Council (EIC) whose budget for the second pilot phase (2019 – 2020) is of EUR 2 billion. Switzerland, associated with the Horizon 2020 Programme, has access to these incentives for businesses.

Target audience

The EIC budget of EUR 2 billion (1,028 million in 2019 and 1,228 million in 2020) targets:

  • Pioneer innovation projects
  • SMEs
  • Start-ups

Products and services

The ECI proposes two main incentives:

  • EIC Pathfinder Pilot

Registration to this programme were opened on March 19, 2019. The programme targets projects that support technological advancements. Holders are consortia made of at least three entities from three different countries (EU and partner States such as Switzerland). Artificial intelligence, biotechnology and zero emission technology are priority areas. The total budget is of EUR 660 million and grants awarded can be of up to EUR 4 million.

EIC Pathfinder Pilot

  • EIC Accelerator Pilot

This programme whose registration began on June 5, 2019 targets start-ups and SMEs (EU and partner states like Switzerland). The aim of the programme is to support them in developing innovation until they are able to attract private investments. These companies can benefit from mixed financing (grants and equity) of up to EUR 15 million. This instrument has an overall budget of EUR 1.3 billion.

EIC Accelerator Pilot

Use / Evaluation

In its first pilot phase (2017-2018), the EIC has already granted EUR 730 million to 1,276 projects. From 2021, it will become one of the three pillars of the framework programme for research and innovation (Horizon Europe, 2021-2027).


Last modification 12.06.2019

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