EIC Accelerator

For whom?

Start-ups, spin-outs, SMEs and individuals from EU Member States

For what?

High-risk/high-gain innovations and technologies

When to apply?

Proposed cut-off dates: 10 March 2023, 2 June 2023, 22 September 2023, 8 December 2023

In need of advice?

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator programme targets innovations that build on scientific discovery or technological breakthroughs, so called ‘deep tech’. The programme (previously known as the SME instrument) will be used to stimulate, scale-up and roll out marketable innovations and to cover the timeframe before returns can be generated.

About the EIC Programmes

The goal of the EIC is to fund bottom-up ideas in order to scale-up internationally. The programme supports innovative, high-risk/high gain ideas that have the potential to scale up internationally. The grant programmes are:

  1. EIC Pathfinder
  2. EIC Transition
  3. EIC Accelerator

The EIC Accelerator is, similarly to the other programmes, divided into two types of calls: Open and Challenges.

EIC Accelerator Open

The EIC Accelerator supports market-creating innovations with a potential to scale up by grant-only or blended finance, in which grant and equity are combined.

It particularly focuses on high impact innovations or technological breakthroughs (so called ‘deep tech’) for which significant funding is needed over a long timeframe before returns can be generated. Because of the risks involved and the long timeframe before returns can be generated, these innovations often struggle to attract financing. Support from the EIC Accelerator is designed to enable innovators to attract the full amounts needed for scale up in a shorter timeframe!

The Accelerator supports the later stages of technology development as well as scale up. Your innovation must therefore be at least at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 or 6.

EIC Accelerator Challenges

The EIC Accelerator Challenges supports companies (notably start-ups and SMEs) to scale up high impact innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones in identified areas of strategic relevance. The programme is open to innovations in specific fields of technology or application described by the specific challenges below:

  • Novel biomarker-based assays to guide personalised cancer treatment
  • Aerosol and surface decontamination for pandemic management
  • Energy storage
  • New European Bauhaus and Architecture, Engineering and Construction digitalisation for decarbonisation
  • Emerging semiconductor or quantum technology components
  • Novel technologies for resilient agriculture
  • Customer-driven, innovative space technologies and services

Who can apply?

The EIC Accelerator will be open to start-ups, spin-outs, SMEs and individuals from EU Member States or Associated Countries who want to launch their start-up/SME with the ambition to scale-up. In exceptional cases even small mid-caps with less than 500 employees can apply. Note: Applicants from the United Kingdom can apply only request and receive funding in the form of “grant only”.  The signature of any grant agreement will be subject to the positive conclusion of the association negotiation with the United Kingdom.

Are you working on an innovation and are you interested in applying for the Accelerator? Then make sure your innovation is at least at Technological Readiness Level (TRL) 5 to 6. This means that it has been tested and validated in a laboratory or other relevant environment.

Fast track scheme: the ‘Fast Track’ scheme provides a specific evaluation path for existing Horizon Europe or Horizon 2020 projects to the EIC Accelerator. You may be eligible to follow this track if your technology is developed in a project funded by EIC Pathfinder or Transition (including under EIC pilot), ERC Proof of Concept, EIT, or Eurostars-2. Please contact us for more information.

EIC Accelerator: are you eligible?EIC Accelerator decision treeContact us!

Application process

The application of the EIC accelerator follows a two-stage process:

Stage 1: the short application has to be prepared in an online AI-portal and (after April 8th 2021) can be submitted at any time. The short application will be evaluated by four experts within 4 weeks. It contains:

  • A series of questions that correspond to a 5-page form, describing the innovation, the potential market and the team;
  • A pitch deck of up to 10 slides;
  • A video pitch of up to 3 minutes in which the core team motivates their application.

Stage 2: if your short application is successful, then you will be invited to submit a full application for remote evaluation within 12 months. In this step you have to choose for the Open call or one of the Challenges. Also this application will be prepared in the online AI-portal and consists of a full business plan and detailed information regarding the company’s finances and structure. Within 5 weeks you will be informed about whether you will be invited to the face-to-face interviews with the EIC Jury. These interviews will be held approximately 8-9 weeks after the cut-off date (for 2021 most probably in September and December). At the interview, you will be assessed by a panel of maximum 6 jury members. You will receive the final result of the selection process within 2-3 weeks.

Limit resubmission possibilities

The EIC has initiated the following measures in order to increase the success rate by limiting the resubmission of applications:

Stage 1: If your short application is rejected, you may submit only once (taken into account that major improvements have been made). If rejected twice, you may not resubmit for 12 months. Thereafter, you may only submit a new or significantly improved proposal.

Stage 2:

  • If your full proposal is rejected once you may resubmit directly to one of the following two cut-offs. Rejected twice, then you may only submit a new or significantly improved first-stage (!) proposal after a 12-months cool-off period.
  • If rejected after the face-to-face interviews with a potential Go of the jury, you will get one change to make the specific target improvements before one of the next two face-to-face interviews. If rejected a second time or first time without a potential Go, you have to start at the first-stage (!) again and may only submit a new or significantly improved proposal after a 12-months cool-off period.


The proposed cut-off dates in 2023 for full applications are the following:

  • 10 March 2023
  • 2 June 2023
  • 22 September 2023
  • 8 December 2023

You may request for a grant or blended finance to support the development of your technology(TRL 5/6 to 8). The blended finance is composed of an investment component (minimum € 0.5 million and max. € 15 million) in addition to the grant (max. € 2.5 million and 70% reimbursement rate). In some cases the EIC Accelerator provides an investment component only for deployment and scale-up (TRL 9).

Take your application to the next level!

Our team of specialists consists of consultants with high-quality backgrounds at either the MSc or PhD level. One of our roles is to provide grant advice regarding fundamental scientific research. Our specialists speak your language and their backgrounds match your research field. Therefore, they are able to help you take your application to the next level!

Are you interested in our services? Or would you like to get in touch with one of our specialists for advice? Please do not hesitate to contact us via 088 495 20 00 or info@hezelburcht.com.

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Would you like to learn more about the EIC Accelerator? Feel free to contact us via 088 495 20 00 or info@hezelburcht.com for more information or an introductory meeting free of charge. Or fill in the form below: