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The EIC Accelerator – applications open 1.1.24

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The European Innovation Council (EIC) has announced that they will be accepting proposals from SMEs for their EIC Accelerator program in 2024. It’s a hugely exciting opportunity for Oulu-based companies within the local ICT sector that have the ambition to scale up and have a cutting-edge technology, product, service or business model that could thrive in European markets (and potentially globally).

We’ve compiled an explainer below that summarises some of the key information. For the full details, including application requirements, we recommend downloading the EIC Work Programme 2024 document from the link at the bottom of this page.

What is the EIC Accelerator?

The EIC Accelerator supports SMEs (including startups) to scale up their forward-thinking and high-impact innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones. In particular, there is a focus on products and solutions that build on scientific discovery or technological breakthroughs (e.g. deep tech) and where significant funding is required over a long time frame before returns are guaranteed.

What support do chosen proposals receive?

The total budget for this initiative is €675 million, and will be allocated into two separate pots:

  • €375 million for EIC Accelerator Open applications.
  • €300 million for EIC Accelerator Challenges applications.

What’s the difference between the EIC Accelerator Open and Challenge allocations?

The EIC Accelerator Open call has no pre-defined thematic priorities and so applications relating to any technological domain are processed.

The EIC Accelerator Challenges have more specific criteria relating to areas in which breakthrough technologies or game-changing innovations developed by startups or SMEs can have a major impact on EU objectives. These topics have been defined as follows:

  • Human-centric generative AI made in Europe;
  • Enabling virtual worlds and augmented interaction in high-impact applications to support the realisation of Industry 5.0;
  • Enabling the smart edge and quantum technology components;
  • Food from precision fermentation and algae;
  • Monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics for new variants of emerging viruses;
  • Renewable energy sources and their whole value chain including materials development and recycling of components.

Can my company apply?

All Oulu-based companies wishing to apply must be classified as an SME or a small mid-cap (only in exceptional cases) or a single person/group of people intending to establish an SME.

What is the application process?

There are four key steps in the application process:

  • Short proposals are reviewed remotely by EIC expert evaluators on a first come, first served basis. These can be submitted from the European Commission’s Funding and Tender Opportunities Portal from the 1st January 2024 onwards;
  • Successful applicants will then be invited to prepare a full proposal. Support to develop your business plan at this stage is available courtesy of EIC business coaches;
  • If, after remote assessment from EIC expert evaluators, the full proposal is successful, you will be invited to an interview with an EIC jury;
  • If selected after the interview, you’ll be invited to negotiate the terms of funding. The nature of this agreement will depend on what kind of application you have submitted.

Where can I find out more information?

All the information you need can be found from page 60 onwards of the EIC Work Programme 2024, published 12th December 2023.

Are you looking to connect with global value chains? Contact Max Raymond at for more information on the services that ICTOulu can provide and how they can support your business activities.