Impact of the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP) on the EIC Accelerator: EAIC Opinion Piece
The EIC Accelerator is the most impactful and coveted funding instrument that the EC has at its disposal to fund high-risk deep-tech innovation. The funding decisions made by the EIC in the coming years will durably shape the future of European deeptech, with €7 billion currently allocated to the EIC Accelerator to fuel the next European champions in strategic domains such as quantum, bioinformatics, high-performance computing, cybersecurity, cleantech, healthcare, etc.
As part of the revamp of the EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) presented in June by the European Commission, the EIC is now in line for an extra €2.6 billion for the Accelerator programme to provide, via the EIC Fund, additional equity funding of €15-50 million to support scale-up of companies in three strategic areas: deeptech, cleantech and biotech.
The EAIC commends the European Commission for this proposed reallocation of budget as access to sufficient capital post-initial funding will allow the selected scale-ups to continue their R&D efforts, scale their operations, and maintain a steady growth trajectory without resorting to non-European investors.
However, early-stage startups are not targeted by this new EIC Fund compartment: they will have to rely on the normal EIC Accelerator budget, which will see a significant decrease in 2024, from €1.09 billion in 2023, to €563 million in 2024 available for new EIC Accelerator laureates.
Author: Marie Latour, Head of Office, Zabala Brussels
This week, the EU research ministers have agreed on the final details of Horizon Europe:
To begin with, they agree on a linear cut across its programmes to reflect the outcome of the July budget summit (from €94.4 billion to €80.9 billion in 2018 prices) this represents a decrease of more than 14% from the European Commission's (EC) original proposal. In current prices, this is equivalent to a budget of €90.9 billion, of which €5.4 billion comes from the Next Generation EU budget, as part of the recovery plan.
The Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 is undergoing intense negotiations within the European Institutions. Horizon Europe’s budget has been decreased by 5 billion euros, straying away from the European Commission’s initial ambitious plan. The European Council and Parliament (EP) have just a few months left to complete their negotiations.
EWGIC, the European Working Group of Innovation Consultants, welcomes the European Council’s agreement on the MFF and the Next Generation EU budgets, but regrets the treatment of European research and innovation funding especially related to Horizon Europe.
EWGIC supports Parliament’s stance that the Council’s budget deal needs to be transformed to a more future-oriented approach. We are now calling the European Parliament to ensure Horizon Europe will get back at least to the original proposal that the EC made in 2018 of 83.5 B€ (2018 prices). So that R&I can actually contribute to our continent's recovery and allow for the development of added-value products and solutions developed in Europe.