1. Specific challenge
The Green Deal proposal put forward by the European Commission set the stage for an era of increased ambition towards sustainable development. It aims to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent and leader in circular economy and clean technologies. This goes hand in hand with a decisive effort to preserve and restore ecosystems and rural areas. Research and innovation will be a key supporting feature of such comprehensive strategy. Such ambition is fully justified by the challenges lying ahead of us. For example, compared to the current situation in the EU, achieving the current 2030 climate and energy targets requires decarbonisation at a speed at least six times faster and additional annual investments of around €260 billion. This EIC Accelerator topic contributes to implement the Green Deal goals. It aims to foster impact investing by supporting the development and market roll-out of innovations that can tilt our socio‑economic systems in a more sustainable path.
Proposals with activities up to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 8 may be funded by grants or blended finance. Close to market activities (TRL 9 or above) can only be financed by equity participation (as long as the proposal remains non‑bankable).
Activities could, for example, include product/service development, trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real-world conditions, and market replication. If the activity concerns a primarily technological innovation, a TRL 5/6 or above is required for primarily technological innovation or the equivalent for non-technological innovation. Essential for the innovation project can be subcontracted. Proposals must be based on a strategic business plan and specify the project’s success criteria and expected outcomes (as specified in ‘expected impact’). Particular attention must be paid to IP protection and ownership, convincing evidence or measures to ensure the possibility of commercial exploitation must be presented (often known as 'freedom to operate'). Regulatory and standardisation issues must also be addressed. Projects should normally take 12 to 24 months to complete but could be longer in exceptional and well-justified cases.
3. Expected impact
Projects must support the Green Deal implementation by significantly contributing (and proposals must quantitatively estimate that contribution) to at least one of the following sustainability goals:
Simultaneously, projects shall do no significant harm to any of these objectives and should enhance European Union’s competitiveness and leadership in clean technologies.
The Green Deal topic of the EIC Accelerator is restricted to phase 2.
Please note that UK-based legal entities are eligible to participate in the grant part only.