Consolidating four programs, the European Union has formed the European Innovation Council to fund startups and accelerate innovation.
Today, October 10, 2017, reports of a draft blueprint surfaced for the European Union’s commercial research group, the European Innovation Council (EIC). The EIC will grant 2.7 billion euros to around 1,000 projects between 2018 and 2020 during a pilot phase, as part of a consolidation of the Horizon 2020 program
5 million euros of the funding will go towards a “blockchain for social good” award, which is one of six new prizes to be added to the work program. Other new prizes include 10 million euros for an electric vehicle battery, 10 million euros for the development of a bench-scale artificial photosynthesis device capable of producing synthetic liquid fuel, and 5 million euros respectively for “a scalable, reliable and cost-effective early warning system for epidemics; … a prize for an affordable way of launching nano- and micro-satellites into low-earth orbit; and a prize for technology to aid humanitarian work.”
The EIC is the product of consolidating the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Instrument, Fast Track to Innovation, FET Open, and Innovation prizes into a single entity. The SME Instrument promotes growth for enterprises in Horizon 2020-associated countries and was founded in 2014. As reported, EU research commissioner Carlos Moedas, who is a chief architect of the EIC, would like to oversee the interviews of those applicants that have made it through the second round of the SME Instrument program.
The draft plan indicates a deficiency in the success of startups that produce advanced professions, stating, “While Europe compares relatively well internationally in terms of numbers of start-ups, too few of these succeed in scaling up and generating high-skilled jobs.”
According to the report, “The draft proposes that the mandate of the 15-person EIC advisory group, set up in January, should be renewed until 2020.” The group includes Cambridge venture capitalist Hermann Hauser; web entrepreneurs Taavat Hinrikus from TransferWise and Paddy Cosgrave of Web Summit; vaccine specialist and co-founder of CureVac Ingmar Hoerr, and Prince Constantijn Van Oranje of the Netherlands.