The European Innovation Council (EIC), has announced the launch of its first calls for applicants. The long-awaited launch will be celebrated through a ceremony held online on March 18 and 19. Applicants will be able to submit their first applications starting on the same days.
The EIC is a key novelty and one of the flagship programmes of Horizon Europe. With a budget of 10 billion Euros for the period 2021-2027, it represents the most ambitious innovation initiative that Europe has ever taken.
Biggest deep tech fund in Europe
The EIC brings together funding opportunities for innovators, entrepreneurs, and small companies developing market-creating and deep-tech innovations. By investing roughly 1.5 billion Euros this year and every other year between now and 2027, the EIC is set to become the biggest deep tech fund in Europe. An ambition confirmed by Hermann Hauser, vice-chair of the EIC advisory board, in an interview given to CNBC:
We will be by far the largest deep technology investor in Europe,” he said, adding that the EIC can invest up to 15 million euros in each company
The EIC started directing its investments to deep tech companies from the outset when the programme replaced the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument in 2019. Now, after the initial pilot phase, the EIC has made transformative innovations the absolute focus of the new calls for applications. With a clear preference towards technologies that contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Recovery Plan for Europe.
What is deep tech?
The new EIC has the mission to support startups, SMEs and research teams developing high-risk, high-impact deep tech. But what do we mean exactly when we talk about deep tech?
Deep tech has been an identified category for investment as long as the technology industry itself. According to TechCrunch, the term has been generically used for technologies not focused on end-user services that include artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, advanced material science, photonics and electronics, biotech and quantum computing
However, its definition can be obscure as it often varies based on the source and context.
It’s no surprise then that the EIC has felt the need to elucidate the concept including a deep tech entry in its Glossary:
Deep tech is technology that is based on cutting-edge scientific advances and discoveries and is characterised by the need to stay at the technological forefront by constant interaction with new ideas and results from the lab. Deep tech is distinct from ‘high tech’ which tends to refer only to R&D intensity.
With this definition, the EIC doesn’t narrow the deep tech field to specific technologies. On the contrary, it provides an open definition, where the connection with scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs is the single key attribute of deep tech. In other words, companies eligible for EIC funding are all those focused on developing technology underpinned by substantial scientific or engineering challenges.
A selection of deep tech champions
Alien Technology Transfer’s European funding experts have supported tens of innovative start-ups and SMEs to secure grant and equity investments from the EIC. A portfolio of projects, ranging from quantum computing to medical devices, that represent very well the wide spectrum of fundamental innovations funded by the EIC over the last two years. Below is a selection of some of the most representative deep tech projects backed by the EIC:
kiutra GmBH (Germany) is developing next-generation cryogenics cooling devices for basic research, quantum technology, and detector applications. kiutra’s devices are cryogen-free and provide sub-Kelvin temperatures, helping scientists to carry out state-of-the-art research and enabling the industry to build scalable quantum technologies. See the EIC project description here.
Teraloop Oy (Finalnd) develops technology for large-scale kinetic energy storage using scalable hubless flywheels. Teraloop’s energy storage system uses an innovative fusion of electromagnetic technologies, each already proven in its existing application. Electrical energy is converted to stored kinetic energy, then harvested as required. See the EIC project description here.
EBAMed SA (Switzerland) develops innovative solutions for the non-invasive and automated treatment of heart arrhythmias by using highly accurate proton therapy (external beam ablation). The proton beam mimics the effect of an invasive manual catheter procedure, which normally requires many hours from specialized staff. See the EIC project description here.
BrainQ Technologies Ltd (Israel) develops AI-powered electromagnetic field therapy aimed at reducing disability following stroke and other neuro disorders. BrainQ’s device is an investigational non-invasive medical device for promoting neuro recovery processes and reducing disability. See the EIC project description here.
Addionics Ltd (Israel) patented a novel 3D metal fabrication method to enhance performance, mileage, safety, cost and charging time of batteries. Addionics architecture work with current and emerging LIB technology. The company works on two lines of development: hardware making smart 3D electrodes, and software where AI will optimise given structures for given performance attributes. See the EIC project description here.
Interested in knowing more about funding opportunities for deep tech? Get in touch with Alien Technology Transfer funding experts here.