The proposed European Innovation Council (EIC) will create a new standard of excellence for EU funding, according to the innovators chosen to help create it.
In a statement of intent published this week, the 15 advisers said the council, which will pilot a riskier, venture capital-style approach to awarding grants when it gets off the ground this autumn, “should act as a catalyst to accelerate the next wave of innovation, to change mindsets, and to give Europe a fighting chance to lead at a global level.”
The advisers include Cambridge’s best-known venture capitalist, Hermann Hauser; two prominent web entrepreneurs, Taavat Hinrikus of TransferWise and Paddy Cosgrave of Web Summit; Ingmar Hoerr, co-founder of a €1 billion-plus European biotech, CureVac; and a Dutch prince, Constantijn Van Oranje-Nassau.
The panel, which had its first meeting in Brussels in March, will help identify market-creating young companies, design new loans, grants and blended finance and increase the visibility of EU funding for companies more generally.
EIC will be pieced together by combining Horizon 2020’s innovation competitions, including the Future and Emerging Technologies Open programme, SME Instrument, and the Fast Track to Innovation scheme, into a programme with no predefined topics and quicker grant award times. It will be in pilot mode for the remaining years of Horizon 2020, with €2.5 billion funding.
The council will also feature an advisory forum of serial entrepreneurs, start-ups, business angels and venture capitalists to mentor grantees.