Innovative Europe

To inform potential applicants about the different funding streams within Horizon Europe, Innovative Europe supports and connects innovators across Europe.

Innovative Europe

Europe has a solid research and industrial base and is the home of bold, creative entrepreneurs. Yet it often needs to strengthen the use of its scientific excellence and industrial prowess to accelerate innovation and turn innovative SMEs into global technology giants.

By reinforcing close cross-border collaboration between multiple actors, including academia, the public sector, industry and individual entrepreneurs, Horizon Europe aims to develop radical solutions to pressing societal challenges and fostering sustainable economic growth and employment. Pillar 3 will focus on supporting the development of disruptive and market-creating innovations and on enhancing European innovation ecosystems.

Innovative Europe features three distinct and complementary instruments; European Innovation Council (EIC), European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) and European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

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    EIC is Europe’s flagship innovation programme to identify, develop and scale-up breakthrough technologies and game changing innovations. The EIC supports start-ups, SMEs and research teams developing high-risk, high-impact breakthrough innovations, with a particular focus on scaling up game-changing solutions that contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Recovery plan for Europe.

    EIC is tailored to the different needs of innovators, whether they are in the early stages of research, exploring a business idea or working to commercialise a solution:

    • EIC Pathfinder – for radically new technologies emerging from excellent research
    • EIC Transition – for bringing research results to innovation potential
    • EIC Accelerator – for development and scaling up of high-risk innovations by start-ups and SMEs, including with blended finance support (UK grant only)
    • EIC Business Acceleration Services – for tailor made coaching, mentoring and matching for all EIC supported companies and projects. 

    Find out about EIC funding opportunities

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    EIE will act to complement and in synergy with the EIC and EIT; and innovate activities across Horizon Europe and other EU Funding programmes to improve the overall ecosystem for innovation in Europe. EIE focuses on building an interconnected, inclusive innovation ecosystem that encompasses European, national, regional and local initiatives as well as under-represented actors and territories, while also reinforcing the ecosystems’ innovation capacity.  EIE initiative focuses on:

    • Launching EIC forum encompassing public authorities from Member States and Associated Countries 
    • Promoting and co-funding joint innovation programmes managed by national authorities targeting collaborative research, technology and knowledge transfer, internationalisation and digitalisation strategies, open innovation and market deployment of technologies by Innovative SMEs. Such as through EUREKA
    • Elevating the scalability potential of business by improving the flows of knowledge, talent and capital within and between innovation ecosystems while ensuring inclusiveness and gender equality
    • Support joint programme for mentoring, coaching, technical assistance and other services for innovators, in cooperation with local European and international partners.
    • Fostering innovation procurement initiatives with the aim of increasing the use of public procurement of innovation and spur the development of new policy, with the end goal of providing market opportunities to European Innovators. 
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    EIT delivers cutting-edge solutions, entrepreneurial talent and the supporting environment for innovation to thrive. With its multi-disciplinary network, the EIT provides opportunities for student, innovators, and entrepreneurs across Europe: Entrepreneurial education course, innovation driven research project, business creation and incubation services. 

    The EIT boosts innovation by increasing the collaboration between business, education and research organisation, public authorities and civil society. TO achieve this EIT Supports the development of pan-European partnerships with EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). Each community delivers solutions to a pressing global challenge.

    Key focus:

    • Strengthening sustainable innovation ecosystems across Europe
    • Fostering the development of entrepreneurial and innovation skills in a lifelong learning perspective and support the entrepreneurial transformation of EU universities
    • Bringing new solutions to global societal challenges to the market

    EIT is an independent EU body. It increases Europe’s ability to innovate by nurturing entrepreneurial talent and supporting new ideas. The EIT strengthens Europe’s innovation ability by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial talent.

Travel Support available for UK-based R&D SMEs to attend European events

Innovate UK is offering travel support for companies to attend consortia-building events in Europe. Our travel awards are an excellent mechanism for supporting companies who want to expand their networks across Europe and make an impact in collaborative international research and development projects.

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Work programme summaries and download

This Work Programme aims to contribute to expected impacts as set out by the strategic plan.

Download EIC Work Programme here.

Download EIE Work Programme here.


Legal and Financial information and support

Here you can find information on administrative procedures, financial issues and contractual provisions in connection with Horizon Europe, Horizon 2020 and previous European framework programmes.

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Reports and Slides now available from EIC Challenges Workshop with Member States

Between 22 and 27 September 2022, the EIC Programme Manager organised several Workshop sessions to discuss their respective EIC Challenges with invited experts from the EU Member States and Associated States. The slides are now available.

View here

Grow your business

Innovate UK EDGE ( can help grow your business with access to funding and finance and by enhancing your investment readiness. Reach out today and contact your local adviser 0300 123 3066.

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