The European Union is boosting its budget to support innovation against the backdrop of intensifying global competition. To compete effectively in the international markets, the EU needs to deepen its innovativeness and risk-taking capability to compete in a market defined by new technologies. The European Innovation Council is meant to turn Europe’s scientific discoveries into businesses that can scale up faster. In the pilot phase, the European Innovation Council is set to become a full-fledged platform, albeit it is currently still at its pilot phase.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation explained that “with the European Innovation Council, we don’t simply put money on the table. We create a whole innovation system to place Europe at the forefront in strategic technologies and innovation that will shape our futures such as artificial intelligence, bio-technology and zero-emission energy. We must focus on the needs of the innovators, who are the ones who will generate jobs, strengthen our global competitiveness and improve our daily lives.”
The Commission launched a beta version of the Innovation Council in 2017 and opened it to competitions and face-to-face interviews to identify and fund Europe’s most innovative companies and SMEs. More than 1,200 highly innovative projects have been funded by the platform and the Commission announced more than 2 billion of funding in 2019-2020, covering the innovation chain. The new funding targets both “pathfinder” projects to support advanced technologies from the research base as well as “accelerator” projects to support startups and SMEs to develop and scale up innovations to the stage where they can bring in private investment.