EIC accelerator: up to 2,5 million to fund deep-tech scale-up

EIC Accelerator

The EIC Accelerator aims to support innovators, start-ups, small businesses, and high-level researchers with radically different ideas from existing products, services, or business models that are highly risky and potentially capable of positioning themselves internationally.

Attention: the EIC Accelerator Program funding program has recently undergone some changes (we discussed them in detail here). Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

In this video, we have summarized the main features of the EIC Accelerator while in the post you will find more detailed information.

Here are its main features

EIC Accelerator in brief

The EIC Accelerator is dedicated to highly innovative companies and scale-ups, with the aim of accelerating their growth processes in European and global markets. The main features are:

  • Projects lasting from 12 to 24 months
  • Non-refundable funding from €0.5M to €2.5M at 70%
  • Single-beneficiary instrument: only individual SMEs can apply
  • Possibility of requesting an equity investment of up to €15M for scale-up activities on the market

idea-re can support your company in all phases of the project development, from submitting the funding proposal to the execution phase. If you want to know more, contact us by filling out the form on the side.

Who can apply

The tool is open to:

  • SMEs
  • Scale-ups
  • Start-ups
  • Individuals who are planning to start a start-up (only for the pre-proposal)
  • Mid-Cap (only for equity financing)

Level of technological development (TRL)

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) identifies the development stage reached by the project.

The project must be positioned on a scale from 0 to 9. To be eligible for EIC, only projects that have reached at least TRL6 can apply. Non-refundable funding covers only the activities necessary to bring the technology from TRL6 to TRL8. Activities attributable to TRL9 can only be financed through equity (venture capital investment).

What it funds

The EIC accelerator finances projects presented by deep tech scale-ups, with very high risk, solutions very close to the market, and highly ambitious business plans.

It is a bottom-up tool: it is possible to submit applications for any type of innovation.

The 2024 work plan has also identified some more specific “challenges” on which it will be possible to submit funding applications:

  • Human Centric Generative AI made in Europe (budget indicativo 50M€)

  • Enabling virtual worlds and augmented interaction in high-impact applications to support the realisation of Industry 5.0 (budget indicativo 50M€)

  • Enabling the smart edge and quantum technology components (budget indicativo 50M€)

  • Food from precision fermentation and algae (budget indicativo 50M€)

  • Monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics for new variants of emerging viruses (budget indicativo 50M€)

  • Renewable energy sources and their whole value chain (budget indicativo 50M€)

It is a highly competitive tool (the average success rate is about 2%): therefore, it is necessary to carefully evaluate the characteristics of one’s project before proceeding with the application.

How much it funds

The EIC accelerator finances:

  • from €0.5M to €2.5M non-refundable, with a percentage of 70% of costs
  • up to €15M in equity (only for access to markets activities, TRL9)

Eligible expenses

The following expenses can be financed:

  • Personnel
  • Travel and participation expenses for events and fairs
  • Subcontracting and consultancy expenses
  • Expenses for the purchase of machinery and equipment
  • Expenses for software, etc.
  • Indirect expenses, up to 25% of all previous expenses, excluding subcontracting

How it works

The process of submitting an EIC project is divided into 3 phases:

Phase 0 Self-Assessment

The Commission’s portal provides a tool for self-evaluation of the proposal. The tool allows you to check whether your project has the potential to be submitted for a more in-depth evaluation.

Phase 1 Short-Proposal

The following is required to be presented:

  • Short proposal (approx. 5 pages)
  • Pitch (10 slides)
  • Video pitch

The project is evaluated by 4 experts from the European Commission. Within 40 days, the evaluation is received: if positive (at least 2 positive evaluations: go), it is possible to proceed to Phase 2, if negative (the project receives 3 out of 4 negative evaluations, no go) it is possible to resubmit the pre-proposal. If the project receives two consecutive negative evaluations, it will not be possible to resubmit the short proposal for the next 12 months.

Phase 2 Full Proposal

A funding proposal must be submitted following the template provided by the European Commission. The application is divided into three sections:

  1. Excellence: explaining the project idea, the distinctive factor compared to the solutions already available, and the technological maturity achieved;
  2. Impact: defining the market characteristics, reporting the competition analysis and demonstrating the potential market;
  3. Implementation: providing a description of the project team, defining your financial strategy, and explaining how the project will be carried out through a detailed work plan.

In addition to the actual proposal, the following must be submitted:

  1. Detailed economic plan containing a 6-year cash flow forecast generated by the project
  2. Declaration of any ethical and safety aspects of the project
  3. 10-page pitch deck to be used in case the company is invited to Brussels for the interview (see the following “evaluation” paragraph)

The evaluation is conducted remotely by 3 experts selected by the European Commission.

To be admitted to the next phase, the project must receive 3 positive evaluations out of 3 (3 go). In the event the project receives a No Go, it can be resubmitted only once within the next 12 months (or another term indicated in the evaluation report). If it receives another negative evaluation, the project cannot be resubmitted for at least 12 months.

The Commission then forms a list of projects to be invited to Phase 3, twice the number of the budget available for each evaluation “window.”

Phase 3 Interview

The projects with the highest scores are invited to Brussels for “interviews.” These are 45-minute sessions (10 minutes for presentation and 35 minutes for questions and answers) during which the team will present their project to a panel of 5 European Commission experts. At the end of this phase, a list of proposed projects for funding will be created, and funds will be allocated.

Due Diligence. In the event the SME is selected for funding and has requested equity investment, the due diligence phase is initiated, which aims to determine the conditions and amount of equity investment. Due diligence follows a parallel path to the negotiation phase to obtain the grant (non-repayable financing).

Execution Phases

The execution phase begins after the signing of the funding contract with the European Commission and lasts a maximum of 2 years. The progress of the project is verified by the European Commission, supported by experts, halfway through the project and at the end of the execution period


The EIC accelerator is a “continuous submission” tool: it is always possible to submit a funding application during the year. However, there are “cut-off dates” with which the full proposal evaluation windows are closed. For 2024, the cut-off dates will be:

Open & Challenges

13th March 2024

3rd October 2024