Horizon Europe: EIC Accelerator Open 2021 – HORIZON-EIC-2021-ACCELERATOROPEN-01


€ 592.500.000

European Commission



The EIC Accelerator supports companies (principally start-ups and SMEs) to scale up high impact innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones.

On May 26th 2021, a new version of the Guide for Applicants was released.

The EIC Accelerator focuses in particular on innovations building on scientific discovery or technological breakthroughs (‘deep tech’) and where significant funding is needed over a long timeframe before returns can be generated (‘patient capital’). Such innovations often struggle to attract financing because the risks and time period involved are too high. Funding and support from the EIC Accelerator is designed to enable such innovators to attract the full investment amounts needed for scale up in a shorter timeframe. The EIC Accelerator is open to innovations in any field of technology or application.

However, innovations that harm the environment or social welfare or that are designed primarily for military applications will not be supported.

The EIC Accelerator supports the later stages of technology development as well as scale up. The technology component of your innovation must therefore have been tested and validated in a laboratory or other relevant environment (e.g. at least Technology Readiness Level 5/6 or higher). The EIC Accelerator looks to support companies where the EIC support will act as a catalyst to crowd in other investors necessary for the scale up of the innovation.

In order to apply you must meet one of the following eligibility conditions:

  • A single company classified as a SME and established within a Member State or an Associated Country; 
  • A single company classified as a ‘Small mid-cap‘ (up to 500 employees) established in a Member State or an Associated Country, but your application can only be for rapid scale up purposes (e.g. Technology Readiness Level 9) and only for the investment component; or 
  • One or more natural persons (including individual entrepreneurs) or legal entities, which are either:
    a. from a Member State or an Associated Country intending to establish an SME or small mid-cap (as defined above) in a Member State or Associated Country by the time of signing the Accelerator contract or, in the case blended finance is awarded, at the latest when agreeing on its investment component;
    b. intending to invest in an SME or small mid-cap in a Member State or an Associated Country and who may submit a proposal on behalf of that SME or small mid-cap, provided that a prior agreement exist with the company. The contract will be signed with the beneficiary company only;
    c. from a non-associated third country intending to establish an SME (including start-ups) or to relocate an existing SME to a Member State or an Associated Country, by the time of submitting a full application. Your company must prove its effective establishment in a Member State or an Associated Country. The Commission may set specific conditions and milestones in the contract to ensure that the interest of the Union is met.

Budget: EUR 592 500 000.



Consorzio; Impresa o Professionista; Privato; Cooperativa

micro impresa; piccola impresa; media impresa; grande impresa;

Industria; Turismo; Commercio; Costruzioni; Audiovisivo; Servizi; ICT; Bancario – Assicurativo; Trasporti; Energia; Agricoltura; Pesca e Affari marittimi; Sanità; Cultura; Sociale – No Profit – Altro; Farmaceutico; Alimentare



Contributo; Venture Capital

The EIC Accelerator provides blended finance (Innovation and Market Deployment Action) which is composed of:

  • An investment component usually in the form of direct equity or quasi-equity such as convertible loans. The minimum investment component is EUR 0.5 million and the maximum is EUR 15 million. It is intended to finance market deployment and scale up but may also be used for other purposes (including co-financing or even fully financing innovation activities). Within the maximum budget awarded by the Commission to the EIC Fund, the terms of investment will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis by the EIC Fund.30 In the case of equity, investments will not exceed 25% of the voting shares of the company (except where for strategic reasons the Commission subjects its support to the acquisition of a blocking minority). Investments will normally be made with a long average perspective (7-10 years) with a maximum of 15 years (‘patient capital’). The Fund’s main guiding principles are described in the Investment Guidelines. The investment component of the EIC Fund is designed to fill the funding gap for high risk innovations to a stage where they can be co-financed or financed under the InvestEU programme or by private investors alone. In order to ensure seamless continuity and synergies between the EIC support and InvestEU, the EIC Fund and the InvestEU Fund may develop joint risk sharing mechanisms like blended debt and other hybrid instruments, which would be used where relevant to support EIC Accelerator selected companies as well as follow-on investment in EIC Accelerator companies or for the benefit of the Seal of Excellence companies. It may also include actions and collaboration to develop matching platforms in close relation with financial intermediaries supported by the InvestEU, also for the Seal of Excellence companies. When implementing investments decided by the Commission, the EIC Fund will ensure that supported companies keep most of their value, including their IP, in the EU or in the Associated Countries in order to contribute to their economic growth and job creation. For that purpose, and where the financial interests of the Union would otherwise also be at stake, the Investment guidelines adopted by the Commission will provide the conditions for the exceptional cases where the investment allocated to an eligible company may be channelled in holding companies or financial vehicles established in non-EU or non-Associated Countries. 
  • A grant component to reimburse eligible costs incurred for innovation activities, including demonstration of the technology in the relevant environment, prototyping and system level demonstration, R&D and testing required to meet regulatory and standardisation requirements, intellectual property management, and marketing approval (e.g. at least Technology Readiness Levels 5/6 to 8). Eligible costs are reimbursed up to a maximum of 70%. The 30% co-financing of these activities and the costs incurred for the commercial introduction of the product or service and full scale up operations (e.g. Technology Readiness Level 9 or above) will not be reimbursed by the grant but can be financed by the investment component. The grant component should normally not exceed EUR 2.5 million but may be for a higher amount in exceptional and well justified cases. The innovation activities to be supported should normally be completed within 24 months but may be longer in exceptional and well justified cases. The grant component may be used for subcontracting including, only if justified, for activities which are essential for the objectives of the project.

Applicants can choose to request the investment component only and are not required to request a grant component. Ongoing grant-only projects (including those funded under the Horizon 2020 EIC pilot Accelerator) can only apply for a related investment component under an EIC Accelerator call. Small mid-caps (i.e. companies that do not comply with the definition of an SME but have fewer than 500 employees) can only apply for the investment component and are not eligible to receive the grant component. In the case of an investment component only request, the proposal can be submitted on behalf of the companies by an investor ready to co-finance the investment.

You may request a grant component only or grant first (i.e. maximum EUR 2.5 million to cover TRL 5/6 to 8 and without requesting an investment component for TRL 9) if you have not previously received EIC Accelerator grant-only support. When you apply for grant-only or grant-first support, you will have to include a milestone at mid-term or at the latest 6 months before the end of the project, for the EIC to assess deployment perspectives and capabilities. You may request a grant-only or grant-first support under the following conditions: 

  • Grant only: You can provide evidence that you have sufficient financial means (e.g. revenue flow, existing investors or shareholders) to finance the deployment and scaling up of your innovation. In such a case, you will have to detail in your proposal all elements demonstrating that you possess or are in the process to obtain those necessary resources and financial means to provide for necessary TRL 9 expenditures normally covered by the investment component. Should the above-mentioned milestone assessment show that you do not have the abovementioned deployment capacities, the grant may be terminated. 
  • Grant first: Your innovation is based on a scientific discovery or novel technology and still requires significant work to validate and demonstrate in relevant environments in order to properly assess its commercial potential. Such innovations may include, but are not limited to, those based on research results from the EIC Pathfinder and Transition, as well as European Research Council. Grant-first companies as stated above are eligible for a follow on equity component subject to a milestone assessment attesting that the innovation activities are well under way and that the innovation has the potential for deployment.

Investimento minimo

€ 0

Investimento massimo

€ 0



Planned opening date: 08 April 2021

The application process consists of a number of steps: 

  • Short applications which may be submitted at any time and which will be evaluated remotely by EIC expert evaluators on a first come, first served basis; 
  • If successful, you will be invited to prepare a full application, where you will have access to support through the EIC artificial intelligence-based IT platform and from EIC business coaches; 
  • Full applications will first be assessed remotely by EIC expert evaluators. If successful, you will be invited to a face to face interview with an EIC jury as the final step in the selection process. 
  • If selected for funding, you will be invited to negotiate an initial contract for the grant component and to start the due diligence for the investment component. Short applications: You may submit a short application at any time via the European Funding & Tender Opportunities Portal that will direct you to the EIC artificial intelligence based IT platform.

The short application consists of: 

  • A 5-page form where you must summarise your proposal and respond to a set of questions on your innovation, your potential market and your team; 
  • A pitch-deck of up to 10 slides following a set format;
  • A (link to a) video pitch of up to 3 minutes where the core members of your team (up to three people) should provide the motivation for your application.

Within approximately 4 weeks, you will receive the evaluation result of your short application specifying whether or not your application met the award criteria (set out in the next section) and can therefore proceed to a full application. In both cases, you will receive feedback from the expert evaluators.

Full applications: If your short application is successful then you will be entitled to receive support to prepare a full application which can be submitted to one of the cutoff dates within the next 12 months from the date of the response to your short application. You may decide which cut-off to apply to.

The cut-off dates for 2021 are:

  • 9 June 2021 at 17h00 Brussels local time. 
  • 6 October 2021 at 17h00 Brussels local time.

The cut-off dates for 2022 will be specified in the 2022 EIC work programme.


The first deadline (cut-off) date for the EIC Accelerator Open 2021 (09 June) has been postponed by a week. The new deadline (cut-off) date is 16 June 2021 17:00:00 Brussels time.


On May 6th the EIC informed that won’t be able to assess new step 1 short proposals in time for the 16 June cut off date. All new proposals submitted and positively assessed proposals will be able to submit a full application for 6 October cut off.




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