European Innovation Council

Introduction to the EIC

The European Innovation Council (EIC) supports top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with bright ideas and the ambition to scale up internationally. It brings together the parts of Horizon 2020 that provide funding, advice and networking opportunities for those at cutting edge of innovation.

EIC funding is divided in 3 channels that are designed to cover the whole innovative development pipeline from low to high TRLs. All these channels are bottom-up funding, so they accept ideas from all scientific fields as long as they are ground-breaking and innovative enough to result in the new technologies, open new markets, or disrupt the existing ones.

Funding schemes

EIC Pathfinder - TRL 1-2-3-(4) - discovery and basic research

This channel is the perfect way for researchers to achieve the proof of principle and validate the scientific basis of breakthrough technology.

  • It is obligatory to create a small consortium with partners from at least 3 different countries.
  • Pathfinder covers 100% of eligible costs. Grants up to 3 MEUR are possible.
  • EIC Pathfinder is a bottom-up call, but works also with challenges, which gives it a slightly top-down character.

EIC Transition - TRL 4-5-6 - applied research

This channel was created to bridge the valley of death - to validate and demonstrate technology in application-relevant environment (by making use of prototyping, formulation, models or other validation tests) and develop market readiness. Small consortia (max 5 partners) or single applicants (SMEs, spin-offs, start-ups, research organisations, universities) are allowed to request this funding.

  • Transition covers 100% of eligible costs. Grants up to 2.5 MEUR are possible.
  • Important! Applications must build on results from eligible Pathfinder or ERC Proof of Concept projects!
  • EIC Transition is an bottom-up call, but works also with challenges, which give it a slightly top-down character.

EIC Accelerator - TRL > 7 - product development and production

The EIC Accelerator supports companies (principally start-ups and SMEs) to scale up high impact innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones. The EIC Accelerator focuses in particular on innovations building on scientific discovery or technological breakthroughs (‘deep tech’) and where significant funding is needed over a long timeframe before returns can be generated (‘patient capital’).

For whom?
Single Start-ups and SMEs (including spin-outs), individuals (intending to launch a start-up/ SME) and in exceptional cases small mid-caps (less than 500 employees) are allowed to request this funding.


The EIC Accelerator provides a unique combination of funding from €0.5 to 17.5 million. This is a mix of grant and equity funding - blended financing:

  • The grant component for technology development and validation covers 70% of eligible costs and grant up to 2.5 MEUR is possible.
  • The investment component for scaling up and any other activities from 0.5 to 15 MEUR may be requested. The ROI for the investment element is expected to take place within 15 years (‘patient capital’). It is also possible to request the grant component only if such support haven't been received yet by the applicant from EIC Accelerator.
  • EIC Accelerator is an bottom-up call, but works also with challenges, which gives it a slightly top-down character.

Thinking about applying for EIC funding?

Ghent University's EU team has extensive knowledge on the EIC programme.

  • If you have an EIC grade idea, or have any questions regarding the EIC funding, please contact:
  • For all questions regarding administrative forms, budgets and legal advice, contact our project advisors at

More information

More about EIC

More about EIC Investment Guidelines