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Are you looking for a consultant who can support your EIC Accelerator blended financing (formerly SME Instrument Phase 2, grant and equity) application? Please feel free to reach out using this contact form: Contact Us

The EIC Accelerator (€2.5M grant and €15M equity financing available) is a highly competitive funding program that has replaced the SME instrument Phase 2 in 2019 and has undergone a testing period in 2019/2020 as the EIC Accelerator Pilot. After Horizon 2020, the new Horizon Europe (2021-2027) program has transformed the EIC Accelerator into a modernised and feature-rich grant platform. As a result, the application process is longer and more stringent than ever before while the written parts have increased dramatically. In the same vein, the addition of audiovisual content like videos, pitch decks, investor decks and more require careful planning and complete project development right from the start.

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    The articles found on Rasph.com reflect the opinions of Rasph or its respective authors and in no way reflect opinions held by the European Commission (EC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). The provided information aims to share perspectives that are valuable and can potentially inform applicants regarding grant funding schemes such as the EIC Accelerator, EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition or related programs such as Innovate UK in the United Kingdom or the Small Business Innovation and Research grant (SBIR) in the United States.

    The articles can also be a useful resource for other consultancies in the grant space as well as professional grant writers who are hired as freelancers or are part of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). The EIC Accelerator is part of Horizon Europe (2021-2027) which has recently replaced the previous framework program Horizon 2020.

    Are you interested in hiring a writer to apply for grants in the EU?

    Please feel free to reach out here: Contact

    Are you looking for a training program to learn how to apply for the EIC Accelerator?

    Find it here: Training


    EIC Accelerator EIC Fund Investment Guidelines Summary and Investment Buckets

    Version: December 2023

    Note: This article contains a summary of the official EIC Fund investment guidelines and contains simplifications that can change the intended meaning in some cases. We recommend to download and read the official document.


    The EIC Investment Guidelines provide essential information to potential beneficiaries and co-investors regarding the strategy and conditions for EIC Fund investment and divestment decisions. This updated version includes definitions of qualified investors, descriptions of investment scenarios, and new clauses on follow-on investments and exits, ensuring support for high-potential startups and SMEs to accelerate growth and attract additional investors. This document applies specifically to the EIC Fund Horizon Europe compartment.

    Table of Contents

    1. Investment Rules
      • 1.1 Investment Restrictions
      • 1.2 Investment Objective
      • 1.3 Investment Strategy
      • 1.4 Compartment Investment Process
    2. Investment Guidelines
      • 2.1 Target Company Development Stage
      • 2.2 Type of Innovations
      • 2.3 Protection of European Interests
      • 2.4 Geographical Scope
      • 2.5 Exclusions
      • 2.6 Investment Size and Equity Stake Targets
      • 2.7 Investment/Co-Investment Scenarios
      • 2.8 Due Diligence Process
      • 2.9 Possible Financial Instruments
      • 2.10 Investment Implementation
      • 2.11 Publication of Information
      • 2.12 Monitoring and Follow-Up Investments
      • 2.13 Follow-On Investments
      • 2.14 Mentors
      • 2.15 Intellectual Property Management
    3. Investment Buckets
    4. Annex 1. Definitions
    5. Annex 2. Exclusions

    1. Investment Rules

    1.1 Investment Restrictions

    The Compartment is subject to the Investment Restrictions set out in the General Section of the EIC Fund Memorandum. These restrictions ensure that the Compartment operates within the boundaries established by the EIC Fund, maintaining consistency and alignment with the overall objectives.

    1.2 Investment Objective

    The objective of the Compartment is to invest in EIC Fund Final Recipients developing or deploying breakthrough technologies and disruptive, market-creating innovations. The Compartment aims to address a critical financing gap in the European technology transfer market. Despite significant grant funding for research and innovation projects in Europe, very few manage to attract further investment and reach commercialisation and scale-up stages.

    1.3 Investment Strategy

    To achieve its Investment Objective, the Compartment may invest directly in equity securities or equity-related securities, including preferred equity, convertible debt, options, warrants, or similar securities. The Compartment provides the investment component of the EIC blended finance, subject to the maximum investment amount set by the EU Commission.

    Candidate companies apply to the EIC Accelerator through public calls for proposals published by the EU Commission. The EISMEA evaluates these proposals, and the EU Commission selects those to be supported with an indicative EIC blended finance amount. This support may consist of a combination of a grant and investment, grant-only, or investment-only support.

    In cases where European interests in strategic areas need protection, the EIC Fund will take measures such as acquiring a blocking minority to prevent the entry of new investors from non-eligible countries. This approach ensures that investments align with strategic priorities and protect European interests.

    1.4 Compartment Investment Process

    The investment process involves several steps:

    1. Initial Assessment: Proposals selected by the EU Commission are channeled to the External AIFM for initial assessment.
    2. Categorization: Cases are categorized into various investment scenarios (Buckets) based on the assessment.
    3. Due Diligence: Financial due diligence and KYC compliance checks are performed on target companies.
    4. Financing Terms Discussion: Potential draft financing terms are discussed with the beneficiary and co-investors.
    5. Decision Making: The External AIFM decides on financing operations, approving or rejecting the operation.
    6. Legal Documentation: Upon approval, legal documents are prepared and signed.
    7. Monitoring: The External AIFM monitors the investments, including milestone disbursements, reporting, and exit strategies.

    2. Investment Guidelines

    2.1 Target Company Development Stage

    Eligible applicants under the EIC Accelerator include for-profit, highly innovative SMEs, start-ups, early-stage companies, and small mid-caps from any sector, typically with a strong intellectual property component. The EIC Accelerator aims to support high-risk projects that are not yet attractive to investors, de-risking these projects to catalyse private investment.

    2.2 Type of Innovations

    The Compartment supports various types of innovation, particularly those based on deep-tech or radical thinking, and social innovation. Deep-tech refers to technology based on cutting-edge scientific advances and discoveries, requiring constant interaction with new ideas and lab results.

    2.3 Protection of European Interests

    In strategic areas identified by the EU Commission, the Compartment will take investment-related measures to protect European interests. This may include acquiring a blocking minority, investing despite potential investor interest, or securing European ownership of intellectual property and the company.

    2.4 Geographical Scope

    Eligible companies must be established and operating in EU Member States or Associated Countries to Horizon Europe Pillar III Equity component. The External AIFM may invest in the holding or parent company established in these territories, provided it meets all eligibility criteria.

    2.5 Exclusions

    Investments exclude sectors incompatible with the ethical and social basis of Horizon Europe. These include activities related to harmful labor practices, illegal products, pornography, wildlife trade, hazardous materials, unsustainable fishing methods, and others as detailed in Annex 2.

    2.6 Investment Size and Equity Stake Targets

    The Compartment’s investment ranges between EUR 500,000 and EUR 15,000,000 per company, targeting minority ownership stakes typically between 10% and 20%. However, it may acquire a blocking stake to protect European interests. Investments may be lower or higher than initially proposed based on due diligence findings and the EU Commission’s award decision.

    2.7 Investment/Co-Investment Scenarios

    From the onset, the External AIFM will connect potential investee companies to the EIC Accelerator investor community to leverage co-investment opportunities. EIC Selected Beneficiaries are encouraged to seek co-investors, with financial and commercial due diligence potentially performed jointly with these investors. The EIC Accelerator aims to de-risk selected operations, attracting significant additional funding to support innovation deployment and scale-up.

    2.8 Due Diligence Process

    The due diligence process focuses on governance, capital structure, business strategy, competition, market assessment, value creation, legal form, and jurisdictions. Compliance checks include anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism financing, tax-avoidance, and KYC compliance. Non-compliance issues may lead to the interruption or cessation of EIC support.

    2.9 Possible Financial Instruments

    The Compartment primarily uses equity or quasi-equity investments, including:

    • Common Shares: Ownership interest in a corporation, may be voting or non-voting.
    • Preferred Shares: Hybrid equity with debt-like features, usually held by VC funds.
    • Convertible Instruments: Debt instruments with a convertibility feature, such as convertible loans, bonds, notes, participation rights, and SAFEs.
    • Other Equity-Type Instruments: Appropriate instruments to achieve EIC Accelerator objectives.

    2.10 Investment Implementation

    The External AIFM proceeds with the execution of investments, including closing legal documents and contracting with investee companies on behalf of the Compartment.

    2.11 Publication of Information

    Information about EIC Fund Final Recipients, such as names, locations, and investment details, may be published to ensure transparency and compliance with EU regulations.

    2.12 Monitoring and Follow-Up Investments

    The External AIFM manages individual investments, monitoring milestone funding, financing events, write-downs, restructurings, exits, and more. Qualified representatives or independent experts may be appointed to sit on boards of investee companies, ensuring proper oversight and strategic guidance.

    2.13 Follow-On Investments

    Follow-on investments are possible in exceptional cases, such as securing a blocking minority to protect European interests or supporting subsequent funding rounds. These investments must comply with Horizon Europe requirements and ensure consistency with state aid rules.

    2.14 Mentors

    The EIC Fund connects Final Recipients with its network of mentors, who provide business development advice and potential investment opportunities. In some cases, mandatory mentoring is required as a condition for investment.

    2.15 Intellectual Property Management

    While the Compartment allows autonomy in IP management to attract further investments, it seeks to secure European ownership of intellectual property where strategic interests are concerned. This approach supports the deployment of innovation and company growth, aligning with the Compartment’s objectives.

    Investment Buckets

    1. Bucket 0: Companies with substantial negative issues that prevent any investment.
    2. Bucket 1: High-risk, early-stage companies needing significant support and de-risking.
    3. Bucket 2: Companies ready for co-investment with immediate investor interest.
    4. Bucket 3: Mature companies with full private investor interest, including listed companies.

    Bucket 0

    Bucket 0 includes cases where initial assessment or due diligence reveals substantial negative issues that prevent any investment. These companies are deemed unsuitable for investment due to significant risks, compliance issues, or other critical problems.

    Characteristics of Bucket 0 Companies:

    1. Substantial Negative Issues: Companies with major red flags identified during initial assessment or due diligence.
    2. Compliance Problems: Non-compliance with legal, financial, or regulatory requirements.
    3. High Risk and Low Potential: Companies that present high risks without sufficient potential for return or strategic value.
    4. Insufficient Information: Lack of sufficient information or transparency to make an informed investment decision.

    Investment Approach for Bucket 0:

    1. Rejection of Investment: The Compartment decides not to proceed with investment due to the identified issues.
      • Immediate Disqualification: Companies in Bucket 0 are immediately disqualified from receiving investment.
    2. Detailed Assessment of Issues: A thorough assessment is conducted to document the reasons for rejection and ensure that the decision is well-founded.
      • Documentation: Comprehensive documentation of the issues and the rationale for rejecting the investment.

    Strategic Measures for Bucket 0 Investments:

    1. Risk Mitigation: Identifying and documenting the risks that led to the rejection, to inform future investment decisions and improve the due diligence process.
      • Learning from Rejections: Using insights from Bucket 0 cases to refine investment criteria and processes.
    2. Feedback and Guidance: Providing feedback to the company, where appropriate, to help them address the issues and potentially become eligible for future consideration.
      • Constructive Feedback: Offering guidance on what needs to be improved or resolved for future investment potential.

    Potential Issues Leading to Bucket 0 Classification:

    1. Fraud and Misrepresentation: Evidence of fraudulent activities or misrepresentation of information.
      • Integrity Concerns: Issues related to the integrity of the company or its management.
    2. Legal and Regulatory Non-Compliance: Non-compliance with legal, regulatory, or ethical standards.
      • Sanctions and Restrictions: Issues related to sanctions, tax avoidance, money laundering, or other legal problems.
    3. Financial Instability: Severe financial instability or insolvency without a clear path to recovery.
      • Unsustainable Business Model: Business models that are not financially viable or sustainable.
    4. Reputational Risks: Potential reputational risks for the EIC Fund associated with investing in the company.
      • Negative Public Perception: Issues that could lead to negative public perception or damage the reputation of the EIC Fund.

    Investment Strategy and Execution:

    1. Thorough Due Diligence: Ensuring that the due diligence process is comprehensive and identifies all critical issues early in the assessment.
      • In-Depth Analysis: Conducting an in-depth analysis of financials, legal compliance, and business practices.
    2. Clear Criteria for Rejection: Establishing clear and transparent criteria for rejecting investments to maintain consistency and fairness.
      • Objective Decision-Making: Ensuring that rejection decisions are based on objective, well-documented criteria.
    3. Continuous Improvement: Using insights from Bucket 0 cases to continuously improve the investment process and criteria.
      • Feedback Loop: Creating a feedback loop to incorporate learnings from rejected cases into future investment strategies.

    By categorizing companies into Bucket 0, the EIC Fund ensures that investments are only made in companies that meet the required standards and do not present unacceptable risks. This approach helps maintain the integrity of the investment process and protects the Fund’s resources and reputation.

    Bucket 1

    Bucket 1 includes cases where the potential investee companies are not yet ready for regular investors due to remaining very high risks despite the awarded EIC Accelerator support. This lack of readiness may result from various factors, such as the early stage of the underlying technology, long planned time to market, small market size relative to the investment needed, or the company’s low readiness to absorb additional equity.

    Characteristics of Bucket 1 Companies:

    1. High Risk and Early Stage: These companies are in very early stages of development, often with unproven technologies and significant uncertainties.
    2. Long Time to Market: The expected time for the product or technology to reach the market is lengthy, making it less attractive to private investors.
    3. Small Market Size: The potential market size may be small compared to the investment required, posing a challenge for scalability and profitability.
    4. Low Readiness for Additional Equity: Companies may lack a robust management team, sufficient organizational structure, or a balanced cap table, making it difficult to effectively utilize additional equity investments.

    Investment Approach for Bucket 1:

    1. Investment Tranches: Investments in Bucket 1 companies are often made in multiple tranches to manage risk and ensure milestones are met.
      • First Tranche: The Compartment would invest up to 50% of the estimated investment or the company’s unfunded cash needs for up to 18 months, typically in the form of a convertible loan.
      • Convertible Loan Terms: These loans have a maturity of up to 18 months, with an 8% fixed interest rate, capitalized at prepayment or upon conversion, and a 20% discount rate at conversion. If no qualified round occurs by maturity, the valuation defaults to the post-money valuation from the last round or a lower amount if conditions have materially changed.
      • Second Tranche: The remaining investment is made in an equity round, contingent on private investors matching the total Compartment investment.
    2. Conditional Investment: The Compartment may offer investments conditioned on specific achievements or milestones to ensure progress and mitigate risks.
    3. Follow-On Support: Continuous support and monitoring are provided, with potential follow-on investments to address new developments and maintain company growth.

    Strategic Measures for Bucket 1 Investments:

    1. Board Representation: The Compartment seeks a board seat in target companies to ensure active involvement in strategic decisions and company oversight.
    2. External Mentoring: Mandatory external mentoring is often required to address company shortcomings and provide strategic guidance.
    3. Protecting European Interests: In cases where European interests in strategic areas are involved, the Compartment may acquire a blocking minority or implement similar safeguards to protect these interests.

    Potential Investment Scenarios:

    1. No Immediate Co-Investor Interest: The Compartment may proceed with initial investments without immediate co-investor participation, focusing on de-risking the project and attracting future investors.
    2. High Impact Innovations: Investments in companies with potential high societal impact or alignment with EU priorities, even if they face significant risks and challenges.
    3. Strategic European Interests: Investments in companies essential to European strategic areas, requiring additional protective measures and targeted support.

    By categorizing companies into Bucket 1, the EIC Fund can tailor its investment approach to manage high risks, support early-stage developments, and attract future private investments, thereby fostering innovation and protecting European strategic interests.

    Bucket 2

    Bucket 2 includes cases where potential investors, including Qualified Investors, show immediate interest in co-investing in EIC-selected companies. These companies are generally more developed and present lower risks compared to Bucket 1, making them more attractive to private investors.

    Characteristics of Bucket 2 Companies:

    1. Investor Readiness: These companies have achieved a level of development and risk mitigation that attracts immediate interest from potential investors.
    2. Advanced Development Stage: Companies in Bucket 2 are typically beyond the initial proof-of-concept stage, with more established technologies or products.
    3. Market Potential: They often have a clear market strategy, significant market potential, and demonstrated traction or early market entry.
    4. Co-Investment Opportunities: There is a strong possibility for co-investment, leveraging additional funding from private investors.

    Investment Approach for Bucket 2:

    1. Equity Investment: The Compartment seeks equity investments, which are matched by private investors at least on a 1:1 basis, with an objective of achieving a leverage effect of 1:3 over the investment horizon.
      • Matching Investment: The EIC Fund requires that private investors cover at least 50% of the investment round, aiming for a higher leverage ratio throughout the investment cycle.
      • Alignment with Private Investors: Financial, commercial, and technology due diligence may be performed jointly with co-investors, ensuring alignment and optimizing investment terms.
    2. Term Negotiations: The Compartment negotiates terms with potential co-investors, ensuring favorable conditions for both the company and investors.
    3. Follow-On Support: The Compartment may reserve part of the initially awarded investment for potential top-up investment in subsequent funding rounds.

    Strategic Measures for Bucket 2 Investments:

    1. Mentoring and Support: The Compartment may require or facilitate mentoring and business support to ensure the company’s strategic growth and market success.
    2. Blocking Minority Options: If required to protect European interests, the Compartment may acquire a blocking minority or secure similar guarantees through shareholder agreements.
    3. Flexible Investment Structures: Investments may be structured flexibly to accommodate the needs of both the company and co-investors, enhancing the potential for successful market deployment and scale-up.

    Potential Investment Scenarios:

    1. Immediate Co-Investor Interest: Cases where potential investors show immediate willingness to provide the full investment, indicating strong market confidence in the company.
      • Leverage Effect: The Compartment aims for significant additional funding leverage, supporting the company’s growth and market entry.
    2. Strategic Investments: Investments aligned with European strategic interests, where co-investment can enhance the impact and ensure the protection of these interests.
      • Safeguarding European Interests: Negotiations may include measures to safeguard European interests, such as acquiring a blocking minority or securing strategic agreements.
    3. Market Entry and Scale-Up: Companies positioned for market entry and scale-up, where EIC support and co-investment can significantly accelerate growth.
      • Comprehensive Due Diligence: Detailed due diligence ensures that the company is well-positioned for successful investment and subsequent growth stages.

    By categorizing companies into Bucket 2, the EIC Fund leverages immediate co-investor interest, facilitating significant additional funding and strategic support. This approach enhances the potential for successful innovation deployment, market entry, and scale-up, while protecting European strategic interests.

    Bucket 3

    Bucket 3 includes cases where potential investors show immediate interest in providing the full investment into EIC candidate companies, including the possibility of these companies being listed entities. These companies are typically well-developed, presenting low risk and high potential, making them highly attractive to private investors.

    Characteristics of Bucket 3 Companies:

    1. Mature Stage: These companies are at a mature stage of development with established products or technologies.
    2. High Market Interest: They have demonstrated significant market traction and potential, attracting immediate and full investment interest from private investors.
    3. Lower Risk: The risk associated with these companies is relatively low, given their advanced development stage and market validation.
    4. Listed Entities: This category may also include publicly listed companies, broadening the investment scope.

    Investment Approach for Bucket 3:

    1. Direct Co-Investment: The External AIFM, upon recommendation from the Adviser, may decide to co-invest alongside private investors, especially to secure strategic interests.
      • Full Private Investment: In some cases, private investors may provide the entire investment needed, reducing the necessity for EIC Fund involvement.
      • Strategic Minority Stake: The Compartment might still co-invest to secure a blocking minority if needed to protect European interests.
    2. Top-Up Investment: The Compartment may reserve part of the initially awarded investment for potential top-up investment in future funding rounds, ensuring continued support.
    3. Aligned Investment Terms: Negotiations with private investors focus on ensuring favorable terms that attract private capital while safeguarding the company’s strategic direction and founders’ interests.

    Strategic Measures for Bucket 3 Investments:

    1. Ensuring Incentives: The Compartment seeks to ensure that founders and employees have sufficient incentives aligned with the company’s growth and success.
    2. Investor-Friendly Terms: The terms negotiated aim to be investor-friendly, attracting significant private capital while avoiding market distortion.
    3. Blocking Minority Acquisition: If required, the Compartment can acquire a blocking minority to protect European strategic interests, securing necessary safeguards through shareholder agreements.

    Potential Investment Scenarios:

    1. Full Private Funding: Cases where private investors are ready to provide the full investment, reflecting strong market confidence and reducing the need for EIC Fund involvement.
      • Strategic Co-Investment: Even with full private funding, the Compartment may co-invest to ensure strategic interests and align with European priorities.
    2. Listed Companies: Investments in publicly listed companies, where the EIC Fund’s role may involve strategic participation rather than primary funding.
      • Market Alignment: Ensuring that investment terms and conditions align with market standards and investor expectations.
    3. High Potential Ventures: Companies with clear potential for significant market impact and growth, where the EIC Fund’s strategic investment can enhance value.
      • Protecting European Interests: Ensuring that strategic measures are in place to protect European interests, particularly in critical sectors or technologies.

    Investment Strategy and Execution:

    1. Due Diligence and Risk Management: Comprehensive due diligence ensures the selection of high-potential, low-risk investments aligned with EIC Fund objectives.
    2. Exit Strategy Planning: The Compartment plans for strategic exits, aligning with co-investors’ timelines and market conditions to maximize returns and impact.
    3. Continued Monitoring and Support: Ongoing monitoring and strategic support ensure that investments continue to align with objectives and adapt to changing market dynamics.

    By categorizing companies into Bucket 3, the EIC Fund leverages strong private investor interest, facilitating full or majority private funding while ensuring strategic participation and protection of European interests. This approach supports the deployment of mature innovations, market entry, and scale-up, enhancing the overall impact of EIC investments.

    Annex 1. Definitions

    The following words and expressions have specific meanings within the context of these guidelines:

    • Adviser: The European Investment Bank (EIB) or its successor, acting as adviser.
    • AIFM: An alternative investment fund manager within the meaning of the AIFM Directive and the AIFM Act 2013.
    • EIC Fund Final Recipient: Any beneficiary selected by the EU Commission for funding under the EIC.
    • Qualified Investor: An investor with demonstrable know-how and experience in the relevant market, technology, and jurisdiction.
    • External AIFM: Alter Domus Management Company S.A. in its capacity as external AIFM of the Company.
    • Business Day: A day on which banks are generally open for business in Luxembourg during the whole day (excluding Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays).
    • Investment Committee: The investment committee of the External AIFM at the level of the External AIFM in charge of making all investments and divestment decisions.
    • Non-Compliant Jurisdiction: Jurisdictions listed in various EU and international statements and regulations related to tax transparency and anti-money laundering.
    • InvestEU: The InvestEU Programme established by Regulation (EU) 2021/523 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 March 2021.
    • Horizon Europe: The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation established by Horizon Europe Regulation.
    • EIC Accelerator: A programme within the Horizon Europe framework aimed at supporting high-risk, high-potential SMEs and startups.
    • EISMEA: The European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, responsible for selecting and managing EIC Accelerator beneficiaries.

    Annex 2. Exclusions

    The Compartment does not invest in activities that are incompatible with the ethical and social basis of Horizon Europe, such as:

    • Production or trade in illegal products
    • Pornography or prostitution-related businesses
    • Production or trade in hazardous materials
    • Unsustainable fishing methods
    • Businesses involved in forced or harmful child labor
    • Political or religious content businesses
    • Activities limiting individual rights and freedoms or violating human rights

    The articles found on Rasph.com reflect the opinions of Rasph or its respective authors and in no way reflect opinions held by the European Commission (EC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). The provided information aims to share perspectives that are valuable and can potentially inform applicants regarding grant funding schemes such as the EIC Accelerator, EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition or related programs such as Innovate UK in the United Kingdom or the Small Business Innovation and Research grant (SBIR) in the United States.

    The articles can also be a useful resource for other consultancies in the grant space as well as professional grant writers who are hired as freelancers or are part of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). The EIC Accelerator is part of Horizon Europe (2021-2027) which has recently replaced the previous framework program Horizon 2020.

    Are you interested in hiring a writer to apply for grants in the EU?

    Please feel free to reach out here: Contact

    Are you looking for a training program to learn how to apply for the EIC Accelerator?

    Find it here: Training


    The Ultimate EIC Accelerator Short Proposal Guide (EIC Accelerator Step 1 Proposal Template)

    Unlocking Innovation: The EIC Accelerator Step 1 Proposal Template – A Guide for Startups and SMEs

    In the dynamic world of startup financing, the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator presents a compelling pathway for startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to secure substantial funding. The Step 1 proposal template is a critical tool designed to facilitate access to up to €17.5 million in blended financing, which includes both grant and equity components. This article provides a detailed overview of the contents and usefulness of the EIC Accelerator Step 1 proposal template, which is tailored to empower startups and SMEs across the European Union (EU).

    The Essence of the EIC Accelerator Step 1 Proposal Template

    Official Proposal Template: The Step 1 proposal template serves as the official blueprint for applicants, meticulously designed to streamline the application process for EIC funding. It encompasses essential sections that require applicants to succinctly articulate their innovation, business model, and the potential impact of their technology. This structured approach ensures that all critical aspects of the proposal are covered systematically.

    Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Focus: A pivotal part of the template is the emphasis on Technology Readiness Levels. Applicants must demonstrate their innovation’s maturity, which is crucial for aligning with the EIC’s expectations of market readiness and potential for deployment.

    Pitch Deck and Interview Preparation: The proposal template is strategically designed to help applicants prepare for subsequent stages of the funding process. It encourages a concise yet comprehensive presentation of ideas, which forms the backbone of the pitch deck and sets the stage for the interview process.

    How the Template Empowers Applicants

    Streamlined Process for Applicants: By providing a clear structure, the template demystifies the application process, making it accessible even to newcomers in the EU funding landscape. It guides applicants through a series of well-defined steps, helping them present their innovation narrative effectively.

    Designed for High Impact: The template focuses on high-impact innovations, prompting applicants to think critically about the market needs and the unique value proposition of their technology. This focus is aligned with the EIC’s goal to support projects that have the potential to scale up and achieve significant market penetration.

    Support for a Broad Range of Innovators: From professional writers and freelancers to consultants, the template serves as a resource that can be utilized by various stakeholders involved in the grant writing process. It provides a standardized framework that ensures consistency and quality across applications.

    The Financial and Strategic Impact

    Blended Financing Opportunities: The template effectively opens the door to blended financing opportunities, comprising a €2.5 million grant and up to €15 million in equity financing. This substantial financial backing is designed to accelerate the development and scaling of groundbreaking innovations.

    Equity Financing Insights: For ventures that are potentially non-bankable and where traditional funding mechanisms fall short, the equity option presented in the template is a game-changer. It offers a direct pathway to significant funding, crucial for aggressive growth and expansion strategies.

    European Commission and EIC Endorsement: Using the official template aligns projects with the strategic priorities of the European Commission and the EIC. It ensures that proposals are evaluated on criteria that reflect the broader objectives of EU innovation funding, enhancing the credibility and appeal of the projects.


    The EIC Accelerator Step 1 proposal template is not just a document; it’s a strategic tool that can significantly enhance the chances of securing funding by aligning startups and SMEs with the critical elements sought by the EIC. It encourages clarity, conciseness, and focus, which are essential for passing the rigorous evaluation process. By leveraging this template, startups and SMEs can effectively articulate their innovation stories, demonstrating their potential to transform industries and scale new heights in the European market.

    EIC Accelerator Step 1 Short Proposal Proposal Template

    1. Company Description

    Founding Story

    The inception of the company is traced back to its founding date, highlighting its origins as a spin-off from a notable research institute. This narrative details the collaboration between co-founders and the initial investments secured, illustrating a trajectory from a promising idea to an established entity. Such a foundation story not only enhances the company’s profile but also solidifies its position as a credible and innovative player in the tech industry, aiming to attract attention from stakeholders including the European Innovation Council (EIC).

    Mission and Vision

    The mission and vision of the company encapsulate its core objectives and the aspirational impact it aims to achieve on a global scale. The mission is crafted around solving critical industry challenges, leveraging innovation to improve efficiencies or address significant market gaps. This visionary approach positions the company as a forward-thinking leader committed to making substantial advancements in its field. The emphasis on transforming theoretical ideas into practical, market-ready solutions aligns well with the goals of the European Innovation Council, illustrating a commitment to not only lead in innovation but also to contribute positively to societal and economic growth.

    Company Achievements

    The company’s achievements are a testament to its growth and innovation, marked by significant milestones such as awards, financial successes, and technological advancements. These accomplishments are crucial in establishing the company’s credibility and highlighting its capacity to meet and exceed industry standards. Recognition from reputable bodies through awards and the successful achievement of critical technology readiness levels underscore the company’s potential and readiness for further growth. Such a track record is essential in building trust with the European Innovation Council and potential investors, positioning the company as a robust candidate for future opportunities in the European Union’s competitive tech landscape.

    Customer Relationships

    The company has nurtured robust relationships with a diverse range of customers, enhancing its market position and solidifying its reputation in the industry. These relationships are not just transactional but are enriched through collaborations, providing mutual benefits and strengthening the company’s foothold in the market. Highlighting the top customers and detailing the nature of these interactions showcases the company’s ability to maintain valuable partnerships. Furthermore, securing Letters of Intent (LOI) from these key stakeholders not only demonstrates their commitment but also positions the company favorably for further funding opportunities under initiatives like the EIC Accelerator, emphasizing its strong market traction and potential for growth.

    Basic Partners

    The company has strategically partnered with a variety of essential suppliers and contractors to enhance its operational effectiveness and streamline its value chain. These partnerships are meticulously selected to ensure high-quality inputs and reliable service delivery, critical for maintaining the company’s competitive edge. Collaboration with partners in specialized areas such as power electronics and fine chemicals underscores the company’s commitment to excellence and innovation. Such collaborations not only optimize the company’s logistical and infrastructural needs but also demonstrate a proactive approach in securing and managing a dependable supply chain, which is vital for sustaining growth and scalability in the fast-paced tech industry.

    Company Assets

    The company’s strategic asset management underscores its robust operational foundation and its readiness for scaling. By cataloging significant assets such as intellectual property, patents, and material resources, the company not only secures its competitive edge but also reassures stakeholders of its preparedness for future challenges. These assets, coupled with strategic access to critical resources and facilities, provide a solid base from which the company can expand its operations effectively. This comprehensive asset management strategy demonstrates the company’s foresight and meticulous planning, traits that are highly valued by the European Innovation Council and potential investors within the EU.

    Value Chain

    The company is poised to revolutionize the industry’s value chain through innovative strategies that enhance efficiency and create new market opportunities. By addressing current inefficiencies and barriers within the sector, the company is not only optimizing its operations but also setting new standards for performance and sustainability. This transformative approach enables the creation of new value streams, turning potential waste into valuable resources and opening up new channels for revenue generation. Such strategic innovations are key to attracting support from entities like the European Innovation Council, as they align with the broader goals of the European Union to foster sustainable growth and technological advancement in the market.

    2. The Problem/Market Opportunity

    Overall Problem

    The company’s grand narrative contextualizes its innovation within a broader global and European problem, presenting its solution as both timely and essential. By articulating a compelling connection between the innovation and significant societal challenges, the company highlights the strategic importance of its technology. This narrative is strengthened by quantitative data, making a strong case for its potential impact on the market. This approach not only resonates with the aims of the European Innovation Council but also aligns with the European Union’s agenda to address critical issues through advanced technology, enhancing the company’s eligibility for substantial funding and support.

    Industry Problem

    The company effectively quantifies the industry problems affecting its customer base, providing clear insights into the financial and operational challenges faced by its clients. This analysis aids in illustrating the direct benefits of the company’s solutions, emphasizing reduced costs, improved safety, and enhanced efficiency for users. By addressing these specific pain points, the company demonstrates a deep understanding of its market and customer needs, reinforcing its value proposition to potential investors and partners, including the European Innovation Council. This targeted approach ensures alignment with market demands and positions the company as a pivotal player in transforming industry standards and practices.

    Customer Groups

    The company has identified and segmented its key customer groups based on distinct needs and characteristics, which allows for targeted and effective market strategies. This segmentation approach enables the company to tailor its offerings to meet the specific demands of diverse customer segments such as Battery System Manufacturers and Power Electronics Suppliers. By understanding and addressing the unique pain points of each group, the company ensures relevance and appeal in its market offerings. This strategic market engagement is instrumental in driving adoption and fostering loyalty, making the company a strong candidate for support from initiatives like the EIC Accelerator, which values innovative solutions that address clear market needs.

    High-Level Solution

    The company presents its solution with clarity, emphasizing its superiority in terms of efficiency, cost savings, and environmental impact. This high-level description uses compelling metrics to quantify the benefits, such as percentage improvements and financial savings, making a persuasive case for the innovation’s potential market impact. By framing the solution in terms of tangible benefits, the company effectively communicates the practical value of its technology, aligning with the European Innovation Council’s focus on scalable, impactful innovations. This approach not only makes the proposal attractive for funding but also resonates with potential partners and investors looking for viable and sustainable tech solutions.

    Customer Benefits

    The company demonstrates the tangible benefits of its solutions through detailed case studies, highlighting the financial and operational advantages for customers. By quantifying these benefits, the company not only showcases the direct impact of its technology on enhancing efficiency and reducing costs but also strengthens its market position. These success stories are crucial for illustrating the real-world effectiveness of the company’s innovations, making its offerings more compelling to both potential clients and investors. Such evidence of product-market fit is highly appealing to the European Innovation Council and other stakeholders within the EU, emphasizing the company’s potential for widespread adoption and significant market impact.

    Industry Impact

    The company’s innovation is set to disrupt the industry status quo, creating new markets and transforming existing value chains for a significant impact. By introducing groundbreaking technology, the company not only paves the way for new applications and business models but also contributes to a more efficient and sustainable industry landscape. This transformative impact is aligned with the objectives of the European Innovation Council, which supports ventures that offer revolutionary solutions with potential for substantial economic and environmental benefits. The company’s ability to drive industry transformation is a compelling aspect for securing support and funding under the EIC Accelerator.

    3. The Innovation: Solution/Product or Services (USP)

    State of the Art

    The company adeptly articulates the limitations of current technologies and how its innovative approach surpasses them, emphasizing the shortcomings of existing solutions in the market. By focusing on the inefficiencies and gaps left by current technologies, the company clearly positions its innovations as necessary and superior alternatives. This strategic presentation not only highlights the unique value proposition of the company’s technology but also underscores its potential to redefine industry standards. This aligns perfectly with the European Innovation Council’s goals to support technological advancements that are capable of addressing critical challenges in the industry.

    Technology Detail

    The company provides an in-depth explanation of its technology across all components, ensuring a clear understanding from concept to final application at Technology Readiness Level 9 (TRL9). This detailed breakdown showcases the company’s thorough approach to development, from initial data sourcing through to integration and feature implementation. By not assuming prior knowledge, the company ensures that evaluators and stakeholders fully grasp the innovation’s breadth and depth. This comprehensive elucidation of the technology’s components and benefits is crucial for demonstrating the innovation’s readiness and potential impact, aligning with the European Innovation Council’s criteria for technological sophistication and market readiness.


    The company’s strategic importance to Europe is underscored by its alignment with current market developments, regulatory pressures, and industry trends. The timing of its innovation coincides with a critical period of technological maturity and regulatory evolution, positioning the company to capitalize on emerging opportunities. This synchronicity enhances the company’s prospects for success, demonstrating its potential to contribute significantly to the European Union’s strategic goals. The company’s ability to leverage these dynamics not only strengthens its appeal to the European Innovation Council but also assures potential investors of its viability and future growth potential in the European market.

    Technology Achievements

    The company’s track record of technological achievements is showcased through a list of milestones including certifications, validations, pilot studies, and prototypes. This history of success not only demonstrates the technology’s progression through various Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) but also highlights the company’s capability to meet rigorous scientific and market standards. Each achievement marks a step closer to commercial viability, showcasing the company’s commitment to developing a robust and market-ready product. By presenting a clear timeline of technological advancements, the company effectively communicates its ongoing dedication to innovation and quality, aligning with the European Innovation Council’s emphasis on scientifically validated and market-tested technologies.

    Development Roadmap Narrative

    The company has meticulously planned its development roadmap, detailing distinct activities across various areas of the EIC Accelerator, emphasizing capacity and capability enhancements. This narrative approach gives a holistic view of the project’s scope and significance, illustrating how each development phase contributes to the overall goal. By describing the big picture and underlying need for each development step, the company ensures that stakeholders understand the strategic importance of the project. This clear roadmap not only serves to communicate the company’s organizational and strategic acumen but also aligns with the European Innovation Council’s focus on projects that are well-planned and have a clear path to market impact.

    IP Assets

    The company’s robust intellectual property (IP) strategy is detailed through a comprehensive listing of patents, highlighting their filing numbers, statuses, and territories. This meticulous documentation of IP assets not only secures the company’s innovations but also provides a competitive edge by preventing potential infringement by others. By outlining a strategic plan for future patents, the company demonstrates foresight in protecting its technological advancements and market position. This proactive approach to IP management is crucial for building trust with the European Innovation Council and potential investors, emphasizing the company’s commitment to maintaining its leadership and integrity in a competitive market.

    4. Market and Competition Analysis

    Market Size & Growth

    The company has strategically analyzed its market size and growth potential, detailing the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) and defining the Total Addressable Market (TAM), Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM), and Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM). This detailed market analysis provides a clear picture of the potential reach and scalability of its offerings, establishing the company’s growth trajectory within a sizable market. By quantifying the market opportunity and outlining the segments it aims to capture, the company aligns its goals with the expectations of the European Innovation Council, showcasing its potential for substantial market impact and its readiness to leverage the available market potential.

    Traction & Willingness to Pay

    The company has effectively demonstrated a strong product-market fit, emphasizing the willingness of customers to pay for its solution. This is substantiated by existing revenues, committed investments, and other forms of market traction such as Letters of Intent (LOI) and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). These commitments highlight the recognized value of the company’s offerings and confirm the market demand. The strategic display of customer engagement and financial backing reassures potential investors and the European Innovation Council of the viability and attractiveness of the company’s innovation, showcasing its readiness to capitalize on market opportunities and drive growth.

    Competitor Analysis

    The company’s competitor analysis is thorough, distinguishing between direct competitors, which include prominent companies in the industry, and indirect competitors, such as those in related technology fields. By profiling these competitors in terms of their business size, regional presence, product offerings, and customer bases, the company outlines a clear competitive landscape. This analysis not only highlights the company’s understanding of its market positioning but also identifies areas where it excels or needs improvement. Demonstrating superior innovation or efficiency in comparison to others in the field aligns with the European Innovation Council’s focus on supporting companies that are prepared to lead in their respective markets and have a clear strategy for outperforming competitors.

    5. Broad Impacts

    General Impact

    The company’s initiatives and operations are strategically aligned with key political themes, making a positive global impact across societal, environmental, diversity, and gender dimensions. This alignment is reinforced by citing specific legal frameworks, policy targets, and binding goals, which substantiate the company’s commitment to these crucial areas. By integrating these global challenges into its business strategy, the company not only adheres to European Union policies but also positions itself as a leader in sustainable and inclusive innovation. This approach resonates with the European Innovation Council’s objectives, enhancing the company’s eligibility for support and collaboration under EU initiatives aimed at addressing broad societal challenges.

    EU Goals

    The strategic significance of the company to Europe is highlighted by its alignment with EU policy and agenda, emphasizing its role in advancing European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) objectives. This alignment demonstrates the company’s potential to contribute to critical areas of European interest, such as technology innovation, economic growth, and societal benefits. By positioning its projects in line with EU strategic goals, the company not only increases its attractiveness for funding and support but also showcases its commitment to being an integral part of Europe’s innovation landscape.

    UN SDG

    The company’s initiatives directly address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, showcasing its commitment to global challenges such as clean energy, gender equality, and sustainable cities. By linking its technology and operations to specific SDGs, the company not only highlights the broader impact of its innovations but also aligns with the European Union’s emphasis on sustainable development. This strategic alignment enhances the company’s appeal to the European Innovation Council and potential investors who prioritize contributions to these global goals, positioning the company as a leader in ethical and responsible business practices.

    Job Creation

    The company’s commitment to job creation is evident in its detailed projections for direct and indirect employment opportunities over the next several years. By highlighting the potential for significant job growth within the company and across the broader economy through innovation, the company aligns with European priorities for economic expansion and social stability. This emphasis on creating new jobs, especially in high-tech sectors, not only demonstrates the company’s growth potential but also its role in contributing to the European labor market’s resilience and diversity. Such strategic planning supports the European Innovation Council’s objectives to foster employment through innovative projects.

    6. Team and Management

    Team Excellence

    The company’s team is highlighted for its excellence, diversity, and broad experience across technical and commercial domains. With a mix of full-time employees, freelancers, and key advisors, the team’s comprehensive expertise is poised to drive the company’s initiatives forward effectively. The detailed profile of the team’s background and accomplishments not only emphasizes their capability to execute the company’s strategic vision but also assures stakeholders of the team’s preparedness to meet complex challenges. This portrayal aligns with the European Innovation Council’s focus on supporting companies with skilled and diverse teams capable of pioneering innovations and managing growth efficiently.

    Full Staff List

    The company maintains a comprehensive and detailed staff list, reflecting its commitment to transparency and organization. This list not only showcases the diversity and expertise within the organization but also helps in assessing the company’s readiness for future expansions and projects. By providing a clear overview of staff competencies, areas of expertise, and roles, the company demonstrates its preparedness to meet operational needs and strategic goals effectively. This level of detail is valuable for stakeholders, including the European Innovation Council, as it illustrates the company’s structured approach to human resource management and its capability to scale operations smoothly.

    Employee Incentives

    The company provides strong incentives for its staff, including equity shares and performance bonuses, which not only enhance employee satisfaction and retention but also align staff interests with company success. This proactive approach in employee compensation demonstrates the company’s commitment to fostering a motivated and dedicated workforce. By foreseeing an employee stock ownership plan, the company ensures that staff members are stakeholders in its success, increasing their investment in the company’s long-term goals. Such strategies are crucial for maintaining high performance and innovation, which are valued by entities like the European Innovation Council, enhancing the company’s attractiveness to potential investors and partners.

    Diversity & Gender

    The company has made a strong commitment to developing a diverse and gender-balanced team during its scaling process. With a current gender ratio that reflects this commitment, the company showcases its dedication to inclusivity and equality in the workplace. Highlighting the expertise of female staff members in key positions further strengthens this commitment, demonstrating the company’s proactive approach to fostering a balanced and dynamic work environment. This focus on diversity and gender balance not only aligns with European Innovation Council values but also enhances the company’s appeal to a broader range of stakeholders, reinforcing its position as a progressive leader in the industry.


    The company has meticulously planned its hiring strategy to coincide with phases of the EIC Accelerator, detailing specific roles and the number of positions required in each phase. This foresight in workforce planning demonstrates the company’s proactive approach to scaling and its readiness for growth. By aligning hiring activities with key project milestones, the company ensures that it has the necessary talent in place to meet its objectives effectively. This strategic alignment is essential for demonstrating to the European Innovation Council and potential investors that the company is well-prepared to leverage the opportunities provided by the EIC Accelerator for significant expansion.

    Leading a Growing Team

    The company’s leadership team exhibits strong competence in managing a growing organization, highlighted by their experience in overseeing significant projects and expansions. This section of the proposal outlines the team’s past experiences and their success in scaling operations, which reassures stakeholders of the management’s capability to navigate the company through upcoming growth phases. The leadership’s proven track record in strategic decision-making and project management is crucial for securing confidence from the European Innovation Council, showcasing that the company is managed by skilled professionals who are adept at turning innovative ideas into successful business outcomes.

    7. Funding Request

    Funding History

    The company’s detailed history of past funding rounds provides a transparent overview of its financial journey, highlighting the types of funding such as equity, loans, convertible notes, and grants. This financial overview not only demonstrates the company’s ability to attract diverse funding sources but also its financial acumen in managing these resources effectively. By specifying the timing and conditions of these funding rounds, the company assures potential investors and the European Innovation Council of its credibility and financial stability. This background is essential for building trust and showcasing the company’s capability to leverage past investments for future growth and innovation.

    Need for the EIC

    The company’s application for EIC support is driven by a clear need due to the absence of suitable national grants and the high-risk nature associated with its early-stage development at TRL5/6. This need is amplified by the substantial capital requirements typical of deep tech ventures, and the pursuit of patient capital which is crucial for long-term research and development. The application articulates a strategic need for de-risking the project to make it more appealing to additional investors. By demonstrating these specific needs, the company effectively positions itself to leverage EIC support to bridge critical funding gaps and accelerate its development, highlighting the strategic alignment with European Commission initiatives aimed at fostering high-potential innovations.

    EIC Funding Breakdown

    The company is applying for the blended finance option under the EIC Accelerator, which combines a significant grant contribution with substantial equity financing. This strategic financial request is structured to ensure the company reaches Technology Readiness Level 8 with a total project budget meticulously outlined. The financial breakdown includes a clear division between the grant and co-financing amounts, reflecting a well-planned approach to funding its technological advancements. This detailed financial strategy not only aligns with the European Innovation Council’s funding mechanisms but also showcases the company’s preparedness and financial acumen in leveraging both grant and equity to scale its operations and impact.

    EIC Impact

    The company views the European Innovation Council (EIC) as a pivotal springboard for growth and success, recognizing the strategic advantage of EIC investment in de-risking and enabling follow-on investments. By emphasizing the EIC’s role in facilitating scalability, the company articulates how this support can transform its developmental trajectory, enhancing its capability to expand and innovate further. This perspective not only aligns with the EIC’s goals of fostering high-potential innovations but also positions the company as an ideal candidate for investment, ready to leverage EIC support to maximize its impact and market reach.

    Financial Projections

    The company has outlined its financial projections with precision, highlighting expected revenue growth, margin improvements, and the timing of reaching break-even. This financial forecast is presented through detailed charts that illustrate revenue against costs and EBITDA over the next several years, including the periods covered by the EIC grant. The company’s ability to articulate its financial future with such clarity not only demonstrates a robust understanding of its financial path but also instills confidence in potential investors and the European Innovation Council. This level of financial transparency and planning is critical in securing further investment and support, showcasing the company’s preparedness for sustainable growth and profitability post-grant period.


    The company has conducted a comprehensive risk analysis, identifying key areas of concern that could impact the project. This analysis includes detailed descriptions of potential risks, their likelihood, impact, and the strategies in place for mitigation. By categorizing risks into technology, commercial (including regulatory and team aspects), and financial areas, the company provides a clear overview of potential obstacles and demonstrates proactive management strategies. This thorough risk assessment is essential for building trust with the European Innovation Council and potential investors, showing that the company is not only aware of potential challenges but is also prepared to address them effectively to ensure project success.

    The articles found on Rasph.com reflect the opinions of Rasph or its respective authors and in no way reflect opinions held by the European Commission (EC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). The provided information aims to share perspectives that are valuable and can potentially inform applicants regarding grant funding schemes such as the EIC Accelerator, EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition or related programs such as Innovate UK in the United Kingdom or the Small Business Innovation and Research grant (SBIR) in the United States.

    The articles can also be a useful resource for other consultancies in the grant space as well as professional grant writers who are hired as freelancers or are part of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). The EIC Accelerator is part of Horizon Europe (2021-2027) which has recently replaced the previous framework program Horizon 2020.

    This article was written by ChatEIC. ChatEIC is an EIC Accelerator assistant that can advise on the writing of proposals, discuss current trends and create insightful articles on a variety of topics. The articles written by ChatEIC can contain inaccurate or outdated information.

    Are you interested in hiring a writer to apply for grants in the EU?

    Please feel free to reach out here: Contact

    Are you looking for a training program to learn how to apply for the EIC Accelerator?

    Find it here: Training


    The Crucible of EIC Accelerator Innovation: Universities and the Birth of DeepTech Entrepreneurs

    Universities have long been the birthplace of some of the most groundbreaking and transformative technologies our world has seen. Rooted in rigorous academic research and fostered by an environment of intellectual curiosity, these institutions are not just centers of learning but pivotal incubators for innovative entrepreneurs. Especially within the realm of scientific technologies, universities and research institutes stand at the forefront of what we now commonly refer to as DeepTech – technologies that offer profound advancements across various sectors including healthcare, energy, and computing, to name a few.

    The University-Entrepreneurship Nexus

    The journey from academic research to entrepreneurial venture is a path tread by many innovators. Universities, with their wealth of resources, including state-of-the-art labs, access to funding, and a network of like-minded thinkers, offer an unparalleled ecosystem for nurturing early-stage DeepTech projects. It’s within these academic halls that the foundational research takes place – often long before a market application is even considered.

    One of the key elements of this environment is the encouragement of cross-disciplinary collaboration. It’s not uncommon for a breakthrough in material science at a university to pave the way for revolutionary new products in the consumer electronics space or for biomedical research to lead to the development of groundbreaking medical devices. These technologies, born from academic projects, have the potential to address critical global challenges and pave the way for new industries.

    Bridging the Gap: From Academia to Industry

    However, the path from a university project to a successful DeepTech company is fraught with challenges. The process of commercializing scientific research requires more than just technical expertise; it demands a keen understanding of the market, strategic business planning, and the ability to secure investment. Herein lies the role of entrepreneurship programs and technology transfer offices within universities, which aim to bridge this gap. They provide budding entrepreneurs with the mentorship, funding, and business acumen needed to bring their innovations to market.

    Additionally, the role of public and private funding cannot be overstated. Initiatives like the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program offer critical support through grants and equity financing for startups that are navigating the treacherous waters of commercializing DeepTech. These programs not only provide financial backing but also lend credibility to the startups, attracting further investment and partnerships.

    Real-World Impact and the Future

    The impact of university-produced DeepTech innovations on the global stage is undeniable. From the creation of life-saving medical technologies to the development of sustainable energy solutions, these advancements are shaping the future. As we look ahead, the role of universities as incubators of innovation will only grow in importance. With the right support structures in place, the potential for these academic endeavors to transform into successful, world-changing enterprises is boundless.

    In conclusion, universities are not just centers of learning but pivotal cradles of innovation, nurturing the entrepreneurs who are set to redefine our world with DeepTech innovations. As these academic institutions continue to evolve, their potential to contribute to global economic and societal advancements is unlimited. With continued support and investment, the bridge from academia to industry will strengthen, ushering in a new era of transformative technologies.

    From Lab Bench to Market: The Funding Odyssey of University-Based Startups

    The transition from academic research to a successful startup is a daunting journey, especially for founders originating from fields such as chemistry, pharma, biology, and physics. These scientific entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges, chief among them being the arduous task of securing funding. Unlike their counterparts in more commercial sectors, scientists turned startup founders often find themselves in unfamiliar territory when it comes to fundraising.

    The Fundraising Challenge for Scientific Entrepreneurs

    The core of the problem lies in the expertise gap. Scientists are trained to explore, discover, and innovate, focusing on the advancement of knowledge rather than the intricacies of business models, market fit, or investor pitching. This gap often leaves them at a disadvantage in a competitive funding landscape dominated by investors looking for quick returns and businesses with clear market applications.

    Moreover, the nature of DeepTech and scientific startups means they typically require significant upfront investment for research and development, with longer paths to market and profitability. This further complicates their appeal to traditional venture capitalists, who may shy away from the inherent risks and extended timelines.

    Grants: A Lifeline for Getting Started

    In light of these challenges, grants play a crucial role in the early stages of a scientific startup’s lifecycle. Funding mechanisms such as the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program become lifelines, offering not just financial support but also validation of the scientific venture’s potential impact. Grants from governmental and international bodies provide the essential capital needed to transition from proof-of-concept to a viable product, without diluting the founders’ equity or forcing them into premature commercialization strategies.

    Building a Bridge: The Role of University Incubators and Entrepreneurship Programs

    Recognizing the unique challenges faced by their scientific entrepreneurs, many universities have established incubators and entrepreneurship programs designed to bridge the knowledge gap. These programs offer mentorship, business training, and access to networks of investors specifically interested in DeepTech and scientific innovations. They aim to equip scientists with the necessary skills to navigate the funding landscape, from crafting compelling pitch decks to understanding the financial metrics crucial to investors.

    The Path Forward

    Despite the hurdles, the potential societal and economic benefits of scientific startups are immense. With their ability to address pressing global challenges through innovation, supporting these ventures is of paramount importance. Strengthening the ecosystem that supports scientific entrepreneurs, from enhanced grant programs to more specialized investor networks, is critical for their success.

    In conclusion, while the journey from university lab to market is fraught with challenges, especially in securing funding, there is a growing recognition of the need to support these pioneers of innovation. By bridging the expertise gap and leveraging grants as a springboard, the path forward for scientific startups is becoming clearer, promising a future where their transformative potential can be fully realized.

    Navigating Intellectual Property: A Guide for University Spinoff Founders

    The journey from academia to entrepreneurship is fraught with potential pitfalls, especially when it comes to intellectual property (IP) rights. Founders of scientific company spinoffs must tread carefully to ensure that they can retain control over their innovations and avoid costly legal battles or loss of their inventions to the very institutions that helped foster their development.

    The IP Conundrum: Ownership and Patents

    One of the most critical areas of concern for university spinoff founders is the ownership of patents. Universities often have policies in place that grant them ownership of IP created using their resources or within their premises. While this is intended to promote research and innovation, it can pose significant challenges for founders looking to commercialize their inventions. Negotiating the maze of university IP policies requires a clear understanding and often, the assistance of legal counsel to ensure that founders retain control over their patents.

    High-Stakes Negotiations: Retaining IP Rights

    The process of spinning off a company from university research often involves complex negotiations around IP rights. Founders must be vigilant to ensure that these negotiations do not result in the university owning patents outright or reselling them to the spinoff at prohibitive costs. A balanced and fair agreement that recognizes the contributions of both the founders and the university is essential for a successful spinoff.

    Equity for Support: A Delicate Balance

    Another area of concern is the potential for universities to seek ownership stakes in the company without providing corresponding financing. While universities may offer valuable support in the form of resources, mentorship, and access to networks, founders should carefully consider the implications of giving up equity. Agreements should be structured to ensure that any equity provided to the university is commensurate with the value they bring to the table, beyond just the initial IP.

    Building a Foundation for Success

    To navigate these challenges successfully, founders should:

    • Engage Early: Start discussions with university technology transfer offices as early as possible to understand their IP policies.
    • Seek Legal Advice: Obtain legal counsel experienced in university spinoffs and IP negotiations to ensure your interests are protected.
    • Define Value: Clearly articulate the value each party brings to the spinoff and negotiate agreements that reflect this value fairly.
    • Plan for the Future: Consider how IP agreements will impact future funding rounds, partnerships, and the long-term growth of the company.

    In conclusion, while the path from university research to a successful spinoff is complex, especially regarding IP rights, careful planning and negotiation can ensure that founders retain control over their innovations. By understanding the landscape, seeking expert advice, and negotiating fair agreements, founders can lay a solid foundation for their ventures outside the academic realm.

    Securing the Future: Strategic Equity Management for University Spinoffs

    The road from academic research to a thriving startup is paved with critical decisions, none more daunting than those surrounding early-stage funding. For founders of scientific company innovation spinoffs, the allure of quick capital can sometimes lead to agreements that significantly dilute their ownership stakes. This shortsightedness in the initial funding rounds can have long-term repercussions, deterring future investors and compromising the company’s autonomy and potential.

    The Dilution Dilemma

    In the quest for capital, university spinoffs, particularly those rooted in scientific research, may find themselves offering substantial equity to initial investors or their parent institutions. While securing funding is crucial, excessive dilution early on can leave founders with little control over their ventures. This not only affects decision-making but can also diminish their share of future successes.

    Striking a Balance: Equity for Growth

    The key to navigating early-stage funding is to strike a balance that allows for growth without surrendering too much control. Founders should:

    • Understand Valuation: Have a clear grasp of their company’s valuation and how it can be affected by early investments.
    • Seek Fair Terms: Negotiate terms that are fair and conducive to long-term growth, rather than just immediate needs.
    • Explore Alternatives: Consider grants, loans, and other non-dilutive funding options to minimize equity given away.

    The Role of University Agreements

    Agreements with universities can also contribute to the dilution risk. Universities may seek equity in exchange for IP rights or access to resources. Founders must ensure these agreements are equitable and do not disproportionately benefit the institution at the expense of the company’s future.

    Future Investors: The Impact of Early Decisions

    Future rounds of funding are critical for a startup’s growth, and early decisions can significantly impact the attractiveness of a company to later investors. Excessive dilution can signal mismanagement or desperation, deterring potential backers. Maintaining a more substantial stake ensures that founders have the leverage necessary for future negotiations.


    For university spinoffs, particularly in the scientific field, the challenge of funding should be met with strategic foresight. By carefully managing equity and seeking fair, balanced agreements, founders can safeguard their interests and ensure their company remains attractive to future investors. This approach not only protects their stake but also secures the startup’s growth trajectory, allowing it to reach its full potential.

    Bridging the Gap: The Critical Role of Business Expertise in Scientific Spinoffs

    The creation of a successful scientific spinoff from university research requires not just groundbreaking technology but also robust commercial strategy and business acumen. Founders, often deeply rooted in the realms of science or engineering, may find themselves navigating unfamiliar commercial waters. To bridge this gap, integrating commercial and business expertise early in the venture, ideally through co-founders with this background, is not just beneficial but essential.

    The Value of Business Expertise

    Commercial and business expertise brings several key advantages to scientific spinoffs:

    • Strategic Planning: Understanding market needs, competitive positioning, and the path to commercialization.
    • Financial Management: Securing funding, managing budgets, and ensuring the financial health of the startup.
    • Marketing and Sales: Identifying target customers, crafting compelling value propositions, and building customer relationships.
    • Networking: Leveraging industry contacts for partnerships, investments, and growth opportunities.

    Co-Founders with Business Expertise

    Incorporating co-founders with business expertise ensures that these critical functions are not an afterthought but a foundational element of the startup. These individuals can navigate the complex landscape of funding, IP negotiations, market analysis, and customer acquisition from the outset. Moreover, they bring a different perspective to the table, complementing the technical focus of scientific founders with a strategic and market-oriented outlook.

    Early Integration, Lasting Impact

    The early integration of business expertise can significantly impact the venture’s trajectory. It facilitates a more strategic approach to product development, aligning technical innovations with market needs and customer expectations. This strategic alignment is crucial for attracting investment, entering markets effectively, and scaling operations.


    For founders of scientific university spinoffs, the journey from lab bench to market success is multifaceted. While the innovation at the heart of their venture is indispensable, the integration of commercial and business expertise is equally crucial. Onboarding individuals with this expertise, ideally as co-founders, ensures that the startup not only innovates but also thrives in the competitive landscape of business. By doing so, scientific spinoffs can maximize their potential for impact, growth, and long-term success.

    The articles found on Rasph.com reflect the opinions of Rasph or its respective authors and in no way reflect opinions held by the European Commission (EC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). The provided information aims to share perspectives that are valuable and can potentially inform applicants regarding grant funding schemes such as the EIC Accelerator, EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition or related programs such as Innovate UK in the United Kingdom or the Small Business Innovation and Research grant (SBIR) in the United States.

    The articles can also be a useful resource for other consultancies in the grant space as well as professional grant writers who are hired as freelancers or are part of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). The EIC Accelerator is part of Horizon Europe (2021-2027) which has recently replaced the previous framework program Horizon 2020.

    This article was written by ChatEIC. ChatEIC is an EIC Accelerator assistant that can advise on the writing of proposals, discuss current trends and create insightful articles on a variety of topics. The articles written by ChatEIC can contain inaccurate or outdated information.

    Are you interested in hiring a writer to apply for grants in the EU?

    Please feel free to reach out here: Contact

    Are you looking for a training program to learn how to apply for the EIC Accelerator?

    Find it here: Training


    Decoding DeepTech: Navigating the New Age of EIC Accelerator Innovation

    In an era marked by rapid technological advancement and innovation, the term “DeepTech” has emerged as a buzzword synonymous with startups and the tech industry at large. But what exactly does “DeepTech” mean, and why is it pivotal for startups and technology sectors?

    DeepTech, or deep technology, refers to cutting-edge technologies that offer significant advancements over existing solutions. These technologies are characterized by their profound potential to disrupt industries, create new markets, and solve complex challenges. Unlike mainstream technology that focuses on incremental improvements, DeepTech dives deeper into scientific discoveries or engineering innovations to bring about radical change.

    The Essence of DeepTech

    At its core, DeepTech embodies technologies rooted in substantial scientific advances and high-tech engineering innovation. These technologies are often associated with sectors such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain, advanced materials, biotechnology, and quantum computing. The unifying factor among these is their foundational reliance on profound, substantive research and development (R&D) efforts, often resulting in breakthroughs that could take years to mature and commercialize.

    DeepTech in Startups and the Tech Industry

    For startups, venturing into DeepTech represents both a colossal opportunity and a formidable challenge. The development cycle for DeepTech innovations is typically longer and requires more substantial capital investment compared to software or digital startups. However, the payoff can be transformative, offering solutions to pressing global issues, from climate change to healthcare crises.

    The technology industry’s interest in DeepTech is driven by the promise of creating lasting value and establishing new frontiers in technology. Unlike consumer tech, which can be subject to rapid shifts in consumer preferences, DeepTech offers foundational changes that can redefine industries for decades.

    The Path Forward

    Navigating the DeepTech landscape demands a blend of visionary scientific research, robust funding mechanisms, and strategic industry partnerships. For startups, this means securing investment from stakeholders who understand the long-term nature of DeepTech projects. It also requires a commitment to R&D and a willingness to pioneer uncharted territories.

    The significance of DeepTech goes beyond mere technological advancement; it’s about building the future. By harnessing the power of deep technologies, startups have the potential to usher in a new era of innovation, solving some of the world’s most intricate challenges with solutions that were once deemed impossible.

    In conclusion, DeepTech stands at the intersection of groundbreaking scientific research and technological innovation. For startups and the tech industry, it represents the next frontier of discovery and disruption. Embracing DeepTech is not just an investment in technology; it’s a commitment to a future where the boundaries of what’s possible are continually expanded.

    The Unique Capital Dynamics of DeepTech: Navigating the Waters of Innovation

    In the burgeoning world of startups, DeepTech stands out not only for its ambition to push the boundaries of innovation but also for its distinct financial and developmental landscape. DeepTech startups, by their nature, delve into areas that are both capital-intensive and time-consuming, often focusing on hardware developments or groundbreaking scientific research that necessitates a different breed of investment: patient capital.

    The Capital Intensive Nature of DeepTech

    DeepTech ventures often require substantial initial investments, significantly higher than those of their software counterparts. This is primarily due to the hardware-intensive aspects of many DeepTech projects, such as in biotechnology, robotics, and clean energy. The development of physical products or the implementation of novel scientific discoveries demands not only specialized equipment and materials but also access to advanced research facilities.

    The Time Factor

    Beyond financial considerations, time plays a crucial role in the development of DeepTech innovations. Unlike software startups, where products can be developed, tested, and iterated upon in relatively short cycles, DeepTech projects often span years or even decades. This extended timeframe is due to the complex nature of the technology being developed, the necessity for extensive testing and certification processes, and the challenge of bringing groundbreaking innovations to market.

    Patient Capital: A Vital Ingredient for Success

    Given these unique challenges, DeepTech startups require investors who are prepared for a longer journey to return on investment (ROI). This “patient capital” is willing to support startups through the lengthy periods of R&D and market introduction inherent in DeepTech ventures. Such investors typically have a deep understanding of the specific industries and the potential impact of the innovations, enabling them to see beyond short-term gains towards the transformative potential of these technologies.

    Why Patient Capital Matters

    The significance of patient capital extends beyond merely providing financial resources. It includes mentorship, industry connections, and strategic guidance, all of which are crucial for navigating the complex landscape of DeepTech. Moreover, patient capital helps foster a culture of innovation where entrepreneurs can focus on breakthroughs that might not have immediate commercial viability but have the potential to create substantial societal and economic impacts in the long run.

    In conclusion, the journey of DeepTech startups is uniquely challenging, requiring more than just financial investment. It demands a commitment to a vision that transcends traditional investment timelines, offering the promise of revolutionary advancements. For those willing to embark on this journey, the rewards are not just in potential financial returns but in contributing to the advancements that could shape the future of our society.

    The Rising Attraction of DeepTech Investments: Unique Technologies and Higher Returns

    The investment landscape is witnessing a significant shift towards DeepTech, driven by its potential for higher returns and its inherent uniqueness. DeepTech companies, by their nature, delve into groundbreaking technological advancements, often protected by patents and intellectual property (IP) rights. This uniqueness not only differentiates them from the crowded space of software startups but also offers a layer of competition protection that is highly valued by investors.

    High Returns and Competitive Moats

    DeepTech investments are increasingly attractive due to the potential for substantial financial returns. The technologies developed within DeepTech sectors—ranging from biotechnology and advanced materials to artificial intelligence and quantum computing—have the power to disrupt industries and create entirely new markets. This transformative potential translates into significant financial opportunities for investors who are early supporters of such innovations.

    Moreover, the complexity and proprietary nature of DeepTech innovations provide a competitive moat against potential rivals. Unlike software startups, which face risks of being quickly copied or outpaced by larger industry players, DeepTech companies often have the advantage of unique technology and IP protection. This not only makes them more resilient to competition but also more appealing to investors looking for businesses with sustainable competitive advantages.

    The Draw of Uniqueness

    Investors are drawn to DeepTech not just for its financial prospects but also for the uniqueness of the technologies involved. DeepTech startups are at the forefront of solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges, from climate change and sustainable energy to healthcare and transportation. The opportunity to invest in companies that not only promise attractive returns but also contribute to societal advancement is a powerful motivator for the growing interest in DeepTech.

    In conclusion, the allure of DeepTech investments lies in their dual promise of higher returns and competitive protection through unique technologies and IP. As investors become more sophisticated in their search for opportunities that offer both financial rewards and a chance to be part of pioneering solutions to global challenges, DeepTech stands out as a sector ripe with potential.

    The Academic Origins of DeepTech: A Legacy of Research and Innovation

    The journey of DeepTech is often rooted in the hallowed halls of universities and research institutes, where the foundation of scientific development is laid. Unlike the quintessential garage startup stories of the tech world, DeepTech emerges from the depth of long-standing research experience and the vast expanse of scientific literature. This distinction underscores the intricate nature of DeepTech innovations, which are seldom born out of hobbyist projects but are the fruits of rigorous academic and research endeavors.

    The Crucible of Innovation: Universities and Research Institutes

    The genesis of many groundbreaking DeepTech companies can be traced back to academic spinoffs. Universities and research institutes serve as crucibles of innovation, where years, if not decades, of scientific research culminate in technologies that have the potential to redefine industries. These environments provide not only the intellectual capital but also the resources and infrastructure necessary to explore the frontiers of science and technology.

    Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

    The adage “standing on the shoulders of giants” is particularly apt for DeepTech ventures. The body of scientific research acts as a foundation upon which new innovations are built. Access to cutting-edge research, peer-reviewed studies, and the global scientific community’s collective wisdom is a prerequisite for the development of DeepTech solutions. This reliance on existing scientific advancements distinguishes DeepTech from many software companies, which can often iterate and innovate with less dependence on prior scientific work.

    The Path Less Traveled

    The path from academic research to a viable DeepTech company is fraught with challenges, from securing funding to navigating the intricacies of commercialization. However, the potential rewards are immense. DeepTech startups have the opportunity to not only create significant economic value but also address some of society’s most pressing issues, from climate change to healthcare.

    In conclusion, the essence of DeepTech is intrinsically linked to the rich legacy of academic and scientific research. The journey from the lab to the market encapsulates a unique blend of intellectual rigor, innovation, and perseverance. As we look to the future, the role of universities and research institutes in nurturing the next generation of DeepTech ventures remains as critical as ever.

    Energizing the DeepTech Ecosystem: The Role of the EIC in Catalyzing Investment

    In the evolving landscape of technology and innovation, DeepTech startups represent the cutting edge of scientific and technological advancements. However, these ventures often face significant challenges in securing funding due to the high risks and long development timelines associated with DeepTech innovations. Recognizing this gap, the European Innovation Council (EIC) has emerged as a pivotal force in creating a thriving DeepTech ecosystem and attracting private investment to this critical sector.

    The EIC’s Mission and Impact

    The EIC’s mission is to support high-risk, high-impact innovations by providing both funding and strategic support to startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Europe. Through initiatives like the EIC Accelerator, which offers blended financing options including grants and equity investments, the EIC is breaking down the barriers that DeepTech startups face in moving from concept to market.

    Incentivizing Private Investors

    A key aspect of the EIC’s strategy is to incentivize private investors to pay closer attention to the DeepTech sector. By sharing the risk and providing a seal of approval, the EIC makes investing in DeepTech more attractive to private capital. This not only helps startups secure the necessary funding but also encourages a more innovation-friendly investment landscape in Europe.

    The Ripple Effect

    The EIC’s efforts in promoting DeepTech are creating a ripple effect, with more investors recognizing the potential for significant returns and societal impact. As awareness and understanding of DeepTech grow, so does the willingness of private investors to engage with startups in this space. This shift is crucial for the future of innovation, as it ensures that groundbreaking ideas have the financial support needed to become transformative technologies.

    In conclusion, the European Innovation Council is playing a crucial role in fostering a supportive ecosystem for DeepTech innovation. By providing funding, facilitating access to resources, and incentivizing private investment, the EIC is helping to bridge the gap between scientific discovery and market success. The EIC’s initiatives are not only bolstering the DeepTech sector but are also setting the stage for the next wave of technological breakthroughs.

    Unveiling the Pioneers of Tomorrow: A Deep Dive into Deep Tech Industries

    The European Deep Tech Report 2023 presents a comprehensive overview of the burgeoning Deep Tech industries that are poised to redefine the technological and scientific landscape. These industries stand at the forefront of innovation, embodying the spirit of pioneering advancements that have the potential to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Here, we explore the key sectors that are shaping the future of Deep Tech.

    Novel AI and Machine Learning

    With a record year in funding, AI and machine learning continue to lead the charge in Deep Tech innovations. From general-purpose AI to GenAI model makers and quantum algorithms, the advancements in AI are not only enhancing computational efficiencies but are also revolutionizing industries across the board, including healthcare, automotive with autonomous driving, and even cybersecurity.

    Future of Compute

    The Future of Compute is another critical domain witnessing substantial growth, encompassing quantum computing and photonic integrated circuits. These technologies promise to unlock new potentials in computational power, significantly surpassing the capabilities of traditional computing architectures and opening up new realms for exploration in science and engineering.

    Space Tech

    The resurgence of interest in space exploration and technology is evident through increased investments in connectivity satellites, launch vehicles, Earth observation technologies, and satellite manufacturing. Space Tech is not just about exploring the unknown but also about harnessing space to improve life on Earth, offering solutions for global communication, environmental monitoring, and beyond.

    Novel Energy

    Addressing the global energy challenge, Novel Energy technologies are focusing on sustainable and renewable energy sources. Innovations in nuclear fusion and fission, supercapacitors, and fuel cells are underlining the shift towards cleaner energy solutions that aim to meet the world’s growing energy demands while mitigating the impact on the environment.

    Computational Biology & Chemistry

    The intersection of technology and biology is fostering groundbreaking developments in drug discovery, gene-based medicine, and AI solutions for life sciences R&D. These advancements are not only speeding up the process of discovering new drugs but are also enabling personalized medicine, thereby revolutionizing healthcare and treatment methodologies.

    Advanced Materials and Robotics

    The exploration of advanced materials, including graphene nanotubes and bioplastics, alongside advancements in robotics and drones, underscores the integration of physical sciences with engineering marvels. These technologies are paving the way for more efficient manufacturing processes, innovative products, and solutions to complex problems in various sectors, from industrial automation to sustainable manufacturing.

    These industries, as highlighted in the European Deep Tech Report 2023, embody the essence of Deep Tech – a blend of cutting-edge scientific research and technological innovation aimed at creating a sustainable and advanced future. The focus on Novel AI, Future of Compute, Space Tech, Novel Energy, Computational Biology & Chemistry, alongside Advanced Materials and Robotics, showcases the diverse and dynamic nature of the Deep Tech ecosystem, which is set to drive the next wave of global progress.

    As we stand on the brink of this new era of innovation, it is clear that Deep Tech industries hold the key to solving some of the most critical challenges facing humanity today. Through the continuous pursuit of knowledge and the relentless spirit of innovation, the promise of Deep Tech is not just to imagine the future but to create it.

    The articles found on Rasph.com reflect the opinions of Rasph or its respective authors and in no way reflect opinions held by the European Commission (EC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). The provided information aims to share perspectives that are valuable and can potentially inform applicants regarding grant funding schemes such as the EIC Accelerator, EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition or related programs such as Innovate UK in the United Kingdom or the Small Business Innovation and Research grant (SBIR) in the United States.

    The articles can also be a useful resource for other consultancies in the grant space as well as professional grant writers who are hired as freelancers or are part of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). The EIC Accelerator is part of Horizon Europe (2021-2027) which has recently replaced the previous framework program Horizon 2020.

    This article was written by ChatEIC. ChatEIC is an EIC Accelerator assistant that can advise on the writing of proposals, discuss current trends and create insightful articles on a variety of topics. The articles written by ChatEIC can contain inaccurate or outdated information.

    Are you interested in hiring a writer to apply for grants in the EU?

    Please feel free to reach out here: Contact

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    The New EIC Work Programme: Understanding the Elimination of the Rebuttal Process

    In the dynamic landscape of European Union (EU) funding, the European Innovation Council (EIC) has introduced notable changes under its 2024 Work Programme, directly impacting the application and evaluation process for funding. Among these adjustments, the elimination of the rebuttal process stands out, signifying a shift towards a more streamlined and independent assessment of proposals. This article delves into the implications of this change for startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) seeking EIC Accelerator funding, aiming to demystify the new approach and offer strategic guidance for applicants.

    The Shift Away from the Rebuttal Process

    Historically, the EIC Accelerator application process allowed applicants to address and “rebut” comments from previous evaluations in subsequent submissions. This rebuttal process enabled organizations to refine and improve their proposals based on specific feedback, theoretically increasing their chances of success in future rounds. However, under the 2024 EIC Work Programme, this mechanism has been removed. Consequently, there is no longer a structured avenue for applicants to incorporate improvements from previous submissions directly in response to evaluator comments.

    Independent Evaluation of Proposals

    A significant change accompanying the removal of the rebuttal process is the approach to evaluating proposals. Evaluators will no longer have access to any previous submissions or evaluation reports from earlier rounds. This ensures that each proposal is assessed independently, solely on its merits and in alignment with the standard Horizon Europe evaluation criteria. This change aims to level the playing field, ensuring that all applications, whether from first-time submitters or those reapplying, receive an unbiased review.

    Incorporating Improvements in the Narrative

    While the structured rebuttal process has been phased out, applicants retain the ability to refine their proposals based on past feedback. Improvements and enhancements can still be included in the narrative Part B of the application form. However, it is important to note that there is no specific format or section designated for this purpose. Applicants must therefore seamlessly integrate any adjustments into the overall proposal narrative, ensuring that the improvements are coherent and enhance the proposal’s overall quality and feasibility.

    Strategic Implications for Applicants

    This modification in the EIC’s evaluation process necessitates a strategic pivot for applicants. Startups and SMEs should focus on crafting a robust and compelling proposal from the outset, integrating continuous improvement as a core strategy rather than relying on specific feedback loops. Applicants are encouraged to:

    • Conduct thorough self-assessment: Prior to submission, critically evaluate your proposal against the EIC’s criteria and objectives, identifying areas for enhancement without relying on external feedback.
    • Leverage professional support: Engage with consultants, professional writers, or freelancers experienced in EU grant applications to refine your proposal, ensuring it aligns with the EIC’s current priorities and standards.
    • Emphasize innovation and impact: With each proposal evaluated on its own merits, highlight your project’s innovation, market potential, and societal impact, making a compelling case for EIC funding.


    The 2024 EIC Work Programme introduces a paradigm shift in how proposals are evaluated, with the removal of the rebuttal process underscoring a move towards more independent and merit-based assessments. While this change challenges applicants to adapt, it also opens opportunities to present their innovations in the best possible light, free from the shadow of previous submissions. By embracing a strategy of continuous improvement and leveraging professional expertise, startups and SMEs can navigate these changes successfully, positioning themselves strongly for EIC Accelerator funding.

    The articles found on Rasph.com reflect the opinions of Rasph or its respective authors and in no way reflect opinions held by the European Commission (EC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). The provided information aims to share perspectives that are valuable and can potentially inform applicants regarding grant funding schemes such as the EIC Accelerator, EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition or related programs such as Innovate UK in the United Kingdom or the Small Business Innovation and Research grant (SBIR) in the United States.

    The articles can also be a useful resource for other consultancies in the grant space as well as professional grant writers who are hired as freelancers or are part of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). The EIC Accelerator is part of Horizon Europe (2021-2027) which has recently replaced the previous framework program Horizon 2020.

    This article was written by ChatEIC. ChatEIC is an EIC Accelerator assistant that can advise on the writing of proposals, discuss current trends and create insightful articles on a variety of topics. The articles written by ChatEIC can contain inaccurate or outdated information.

    Are you interested in hiring a writer to apply for grants in the EU?

    Please feel free to reach out here: Contact

    Are you looking for a training program to learn how to apply for the EIC Accelerator?

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    Understanding Submission Limits for the EIC Accelerator under the 2024 Work Programme

    The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator is a cornerstone of the EU’s commitment to fostering innovation and supporting startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in bringing groundbreaking ideas to market. With the introduction of the EIC 2024 Work Programme, significant updates have been made to streamline processes and clarify the rules surrounding the submission and resubmission of proposals. This article aims to elucidate the new submission limits, offering a clear guide for entities aiming to secure funding through this competitive programme.

    Simplified Submission Rules

    The EIC 2024 Work Programme has introduced a more straightforward approach to the submission of proposals, addressing feedback and aiming to make the funding process more accessible. From the start of 2024, entities are allowed to submit up to three unsuccessful applications across any stage of the process and for any form of support. This includes:

    • Short proposals
    • Full proposals
    • Challenge-specific calls
    • Open calls
    • Grant only
    • Blended finance (combinations of grant and equity)
    • Equity only

    This simplification means that applicants have three chances to secure funding, regardless of the stage or type of support applied for, before being precluded from further submissions under Horizon Europe’s EIC Accelerator.

    Resubmission After Rejection

    A noteworthy aspect of the new rules is the provision for resubmission following a rejection at the full proposal stage. Applicants who do not succeed at this stage are permitted to resubmit their proposal directly to the full proposal stage, bypassing the short proposal phase, provided they have not reached their three-application limit. However, direct resubmission to the interview phase is not allowed under any circumstances.

    Practical Examples

    To offer clarity, the Work Programme outlines several scenarios:

    • After one rejection at the full proposal stage (whether during the remote evaluation or the interview), an entity may submit two more full proposals.
    • Following two rejections at the interview stage, an entity is still eligible to submit a full proposal and could potentially be invited for a third interview.
    • If an entity has been rejected once at either the full proposal or interview stage and once at the short proposal stage, they are entitled to one more submission at the full proposal stage.

    It’s important to note that the counter for unsuccessful applications resets to zero on 1 January 2024. This reset offers a fresh start for entities that may have previously reached their submission limit, providing new opportunities for funding under the Horizon Europe framework.

    Implications for Applicants

    These updated rules aim to balance the EIC Accelerator’s competitive nature with the need for flexibility and multiple opportunities for funding. Applicants should strategically plan their submissions, taking into account the feedback received from previous applications to strengthen their proposals. Engaging with professional writers, consultants, or leveraging the EIC Accelerator’s official proposal template can enhance the quality of submissions.

    Furthermore, applicants should remain mindful of the submission cap, prioritizing the refinement and improvement of their proposals with each attempt. The opportunity to resubmit directly to the full proposal stage after rejection is a significant advantage, allowing entities to address feedback and improve their applications without starting from scratch.


    The EIC 2024 Work Programme’s simplified rules on submission and resubmission signify a positive step towards making EU funding more accessible to innovative enterprises. By understanding these regulations and strategically planning their applications, startups and SMEs can maximize their chances of securing the vital support needed to bring their innovations to the European and global markets.

    The articles found on Rasph.com reflect the opinions of Rasph or its respective authors and in no way reflect opinions held by the European Commission (EC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). The provided information aims to share perspectives that are valuable and can potentially inform applicants regarding grant funding schemes such as the EIC Accelerator, EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition or related programs such as Innovate UK in the United Kingdom or the Small Business Innovation and Research grant (SBIR) in the United States.

    The articles can also be a useful resource for other consultancies in the grant space as well as professional grant writers who are hired as freelancers or are part of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). The EIC Accelerator is part of Horizon Europe (2021-2027) which has recently replaced the previous framework program Horizon 2020.

    This article was written by ChatEIC. ChatEIC is an EIC Accelerator assistant that can advise on the writing of proposals, discuss current trends and create insightful articles on a variety of topics. The articles written by ChatEIC can contain inaccurate or outdated information.

    Are you interested in hiring a writer to apply for grants in the EU?

    Please feel free to reach out here: Contact

    Are you looking for a training program to learn how to apply for the EIC Accelerator?

    Find it here: Training


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