EIC Accelerator

The EIC Accelerator is the funding instrument for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) programme and consists of two variants: "Accelerator Open" (bottom-up) and "Accelerator Challenges" (top-down).

The EIC Accelerator Open

The EIC Accelerator Open funding programme is aimed exclusively at SMEs. It is open-topic (bottom-up) and supports SMEs with growth potential in developing concrete and high-risk innovations to market maturity. The funding rate is 70 % and applicants have the option of applying for equity capital in combination with grants. Funding ranges from 0.5 million euros to 2.5 million euros and equity can be up to 15 million euros.

The EIC Accelerator Challenges

Just like the Accelerator, this instrument promotes open SMEs (especially start-ups, spin-outs and scaling-ups) with innovative ideas that can have a major impact on the EU's objectives. In 2024, these objectives include the EU green deal, the Net Zero Industry Act, overcoming the challenges of Industry 5.0, the 2030 Digital Compass, the EU Soil Mission, the Farm to Fork strategy, the Fit for 55 and REPowerEU measures, as well as the Critical raw materials Act and REPowerEU policy actions.

Specifically, the challenges are as follows:

EIC Accelerator Challenge: Human Centric Generative AI made in Europe

Generative AI has the potential to increase productivity, bring about socio-economic change and revolutionise the interaction between humans and computers. But there are still challenges, such as a lack of transparency and trust. European AI start-ups should promote a human-centred approach to ensure Europe's sovereignty. In concrete terms, the following specific objectives are to be addressed:

  • Basic language and multimodal frontier models should deliver performance at least equivalent to the most powerful large generative models at the state of the art. These generative models should be able to fulfil the requirements of the European user industry, science, the public sector and citizens.
  • Development of smaller base models with promising performance that compete with frontier models in specific domains.

It is expected that the models developed will go beyond the current state of the art and overcome the current difficulties and limitations of such tools. Examples of areas where there could be relevant technological improvements:

  • Reliable content: Generative AI models to minimise fictitious elements;
  • Transparency and traceability: Generative AI models that enable the origin of the information provided to be traced

Estimated budget for this challenge: 50 million euros

EIC Accelerator Challenge: Enabling virtual worlds and augmented interaction in high-impact applications to support the realisation of Industry 5.0

Virtual worlds will play an important role in the digital decade in Europe and influence the way companies work. To enable virtual worlds in industry, technological advances and innovations must be driven forward by taking a human-centred approach. Solutions should be developed to meet the challenges of Industry 5.0. The focus is on promoting the market launch of innovations in the areas mentioned and opening up new market opportunities:

  • The use of Artificial Intelligence to create intelligent human-centric agents that interact with users and create and script adaptive virtual worlds and interaction scenarios. This can provide more intuitive and accessible immersive experiences in dynamic Industry 5.0 application contexts.
  • Distributed ledger technology, e.g. to enable secure and transparent transactions and facilitate the management of digital assets in and between virtual worlds or in the context of linked physical assets in industrial applications, e.g. to support the adoption of technology applications for multi-site Industry 5.0.
  • Spatial data processing and location mapping, e.g. for spatial applications in virtual worlds through accurate positioning of objects and users, realistic physics simulations or for experiences in virtual worlds
  • Digital twins for resilient and safe transport technologies and sustainable urban mobility systems
  • Wearables, smart textiles and smart objects to complement and enrich interactions in virtual worlds, e.g. for realistic, immersive or embodied experiences and interactions with improved ergonomics and cost-efficient applications
  • Development of AR/VR solutions for workforce augmentation and training, remote expert assistance & development management, also for skills training and customer onboarding

Expected outcomes include skills improvement, talent attraction, employee wellbeing, knowledge retention, cost effectiveness and resource efficiency for the industry.

Estimated budget for this challenge: 50 million euros

EIC Accelerator Challenge: Enabling the smart edge and quantum technology components

This challenge supports the objectives of the Chips Act by promoting the development of critical technologies. It is divided into two sub-challenges:

A. Enabling the smart edge

The goal of this challenge is to develop novel semiconductor components and integrated smart systems for the next generation of devices. Proposals should focus on the development of smart integrated devices where the competitive advantage lies in the system approach or in one of the key components or technologies and contributes to achieving the following objectives:

  • Industrial automation: enabling real-time machine monitoring, predictive maintenance and automated decision making to increase productivity to reduce downtime and improve safety in industry.
  • Mobility: Enabling smart transport systems and new mobility services and models (e.g. automated vehicles) that improve efficiency, effectiveness, safety and sustainability
  • Smart cities: Enabling real-time monitoring of traffic, energy consumption and air quality, leading to less congestion, better sustainability and higher quality of life
  • Health and well-being: Remote monitoring of patients, personalised treatment plans and real-time analysis of medical data to improve treatment, and to reduce healthcare costs and improve access to care.
  • Agriculture: Precision agriculture leads to higher crop yields, lower water consumption and improved environmental sustainability.
  • Environmental monitoring: improving resource management, developing early warning systems for natural disasters

    B. Emerging quantum technology components

This challenge focuses on the promotion of innovations in the field of quantum information processing components in Europe. Supporting deep tech start-ups in the development of quantum computing hardware, sensors and communication devices is crucial to strengthen Europe's technological sovereignty. Challenges include overcoming error rates in quantum computing, scaling issues and expanding quantum communication for a secure infrastructure. The aim of this challenge is to support breakthrough innovations that have a high potential to achieve the following goals:

1. Fully fault-tolerant quantum computing with:

  • improved performance
  • significantly simplified QPU (Quantum Processing Units) integration with control electronics
  • scalable control systems
  • software development

2. Quantum sensor components that work in a real environment for various application areas, e.g. ecotoxicology, pharmaceuticals, biomedicine, aerospace, corrosion detection in power plants, gas/oil tanks, detection of raw materials, medical imaging, automotive and many more.

3. Quantum communication devices that can be used in a real environment, e.g. quantum repeaters, devices for quantum-based encryption, etc.

Estimated budget for this challenge: 50 million euros

EIC Accelerator Challenge: Food from precision fermentation and algae

The challenge focuses on increasing the sustainability of food production in Europe by promoting innovative technologies such as precision fermentation and algae production. In the face of soil degradation due to intensive agriculture and climate change, the initiative aims to decouple food production from environmental conditions. By developing efficient, resource-saving and low-emission methods for food production from bacteria, yeasts, fungi and algae, alternative food sources are to be created. These could be produced from agricultural by-products and used for human consumption, food supplements or animal feed. The initiative aims for a closed production chain to minimise environmental impact.

In line with EU initiatives such as the Green Deal and Farm to Fork, the Challenge aims to revolutionise the food supply chain, reduce environmental impact and position the EU as a leading player in sustainable food production. The development of new foods and processes could also improve consumers' health prospects and reduce global biodiversity loss.

Estimated budget for this challenge: 50 million euros

EIC Accelerator Challenge: Monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics for new variants of emerging viruses

The challenge is a response to society's global vulnerability to pandemics and new virus variants, particularly following the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Its focus is on the development of monoclonal antibody (mAbs)-based therapeutics as an additional line of defence. mAbs provide targeted antiviral treatments that can complement vaccination during outbreaks. Despite emergency approvals during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the emergence of new variants remains a challenge. The aim of the initiative is to support the development of broad-spectrum mAbs therapeutics against new variants of emerging pathogens. The aim is to increase resilience to pandemics and develop more precise medical solutions to provide effective interventions alongside new vaccines. The following clear objectives will be specifically addressed:

  • mAbs-based therapies with a broad spectrum of efficacy
  • Clinical administration of broad-spectrum mAbs-based therapeutics to
  • Outpatients with mild symptoms in overburdened hospitals or dealing with hypersensitivity to treatment
  • Rapid and efficient production of mAb-based therapies through technological innovation. The production of a mAb, including test batches during the development phase, is carried out with minimal lead time. This ensures rapid availability of a product in the event of an outbreak.
  • The administration of mAbs-based therapeutics can be simplified through new technologies. This can increase the half-life of the antibody. Another possibility is the injection of mRNA coding for a mAb.

Estimated budget for this challenge: 50 million euros

EIC Accelerator Challenge: Renewable energy sources and their whole value chain including materials development and recycling of components

In 2022, global investment in renewable energy and fuels exceeded investment in fossil fuels. To transform the European Union into a resource-efficient economy that preserves the natural environment and combats climate change, the development of renewable energy-based systems is crucial. Renewable energy sources such as solar thermal, photovoltaic, wind, hydro, geothermal, heat pumps, biofuels and renewable fuels are at the centre of these systems. To achieve the EU's energy targets and the Green Deal, investment in renewable energy must be increased and its environmental impact and energy costs minimised.

The submitted proposal should demonstrate breakthrough innovation in the respective application areas and a high potential for commercial deployment in key EU industries such as automotive, information and communication, healthcare, aerospace, security and energy. This Challenge contributes to the objectives of the Net-Zero industry and the Critical raw materials act, as well as to the strategic autonomy of the EU.

This challenge focuses on renewable energy, and proposals may be directed towards one or more of the following objectives:

  • Scale up the production of renewable energy that generates heat and electricity from renewable sources, at different scales (e.g. power plants or small scale), in different locations (onshore or offshore) and for different uses (from stationary to mobile).
  • Development of technologies for researching, mining and/or processing and synthesising materials that are part of renewable energies
  • Develop technologies to recycle or reuse components from renewable energy sources, including materials, into usable materials and/or components.

Estimated budget for this challenge: 50 million euros

The same conditions of participation apply as for the EIC Accelerator Open.

Conditions of participation

  • No thematic requirements. (EIC Accelerator Open only)
  • Individual funding for a single, for-profit SME only (as defined by the EU, see here for more information).
  • Profile of the applicant:
    • High growth and market potential;
    • High-risk idea, both in technology development and commercialisation;
    • Disruptive, breakthrough innovation;
    • European or internationally oriented business activity;
    • Multidisciplinary team;
  • Development stage: At least Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 and activities to reach TRL 6 must already be underway (demonstrator, beta versions or successful initial deployment tests of services).


Eligible activities: Innovation and final development activities, e.g. activities such as:

  • Demonstration,
  • tests,
  • creation of prototypes,
  • pilot activities,
  • scale-up,
  • miniaturisation or design through to
  • market implementation.

Goal: Market-ready product/process or market-ready service and optimised business plan.
Funding rate: 70 % of the eligible costs (additional 25 % as indirect costs).

Two funding models:

  • "Grant-only": Grant-based funding of between 0.5 and 2.5 million euros. Applicants must prove that they have sufficient financial resources (e.g. revenue, existing investors, etc.) to launch and commercialise their innovation and scale up the company.
  • "Blended finance": In addition to the grant, equity capital of up to 15 million euros through EIC Fund.
  • "Equity only": For SMEs that have already received "grant-only" funding through a previous application

Project duration: 12-24 months.

Business Acceleration Services (BAS): Beneficiaries receive free support measures for this, which are divided into three groups:

  • Coaching, Mentoring, Training
  • Access to global partners
  • Access to innovation ecosystems and peers, e.g. through corporate days


The budget for the EIC Accelerator for 2023 is as follows:

  • EIC Accelerator Total: 675 million euros
  • EIC Accelerator Open: 375 million euros
  • EIC Accelerator Challenges: 300 million euros

Equity capital

Financing of very close-to-market activities from TRL 9 (proof of successful use of the product or service) in order to rapidly and successfully commercialise the innovation and accelerate the growth of the SME.

Due Diligence: Careful examination and analysis of the SME, in particular with regard to its financial, economic, tax and legal circumstances by newly established EIC Fund (duration: approx. 6 months).

Crowding-in by EIC Fund: Search for co-investors to participate in financing round (final decision lies with the company).

An average participation of 0.5 - 5 million euros is expected.

Application process for the EIC Accelerator

Stage 1: Short application

  • PDF file via the "Funding and Tenders Portal" (up to 12 pages)
  • Motivational video (up to 3 minutes)
  • "Pitch Deck" (10 pages)

Feedback after approx. 4 weeks.
The evaluation will be carried out by 3 assessors. To be admitted to the Full Application, at least 2 assessors must give a GO (75%).

Stage 2: Full Application

  • Up to 50 pages in English excluding appendix (maximum 10 pages). The application consists of two parts:

    o Part A (to be completed directly online) - contains administrative information about the applicant organisations, budget, ethical and security issues;
    o Part B (must be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed, collated and uploaded back into the system as a PDF file) Part B consists of the business plan

  • Main criteria: Excellence, Impact, Implementation (1/3 each).

  • Submission by certain deadlines (see below)

  • Motivational video (up to 3 minutes)

  • Pitch deck (10 pages)

Feedback after approx.6 weeks.
Evaluation takes place by 3 assessors. To be admitted to the interview, all 3 assessors must give a GO (100%).

Stage 3: Pitch

  • Face-to-face interview in Brussels in front of expert pane or onlinel: Only for applications placed above the threshold.
  • Includes: 10 minutes pitch presentation by the applicants and a 20-30 minute Q&A session afterwards.


Short applications can be submitted to the EIC Accelerator on an ongoing basis. There will be two deadlines for full proposals in 2024:

  • 13 March
  • 03 October

More about the EIC Accelerator on the web:

Official European Comission website
EIC Data Hub
EU Funding & Tenders Portal
EU Funding & Tenders Portal Manual
Guide for applicants

Do you have an idea for an EIC Accelerator project? Contact BayFOR's SME Advisory Service now:

Dipl.-Jur. Natalia García Mozo

Natalia García Mozo
Head of Unit SME Advisory Services
Phone: +49 89 9901888-171
Email: mozo@no-spam-pleasebayfor.org

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