With the EIC Accelerator, the EU and its European Innovation Council (EIC) have launched a funding programme aimed at the top companies of tomorrow. In particular, the programme supports start-ups and SMEs that have developed high-risk but market-changing cutting-edge technologies and now want to establish them on the international market. Successful applicants will receive a non-repayable grant of up to €2.5 million and up to €15 million in equity to take their business to the next level.

The focus is on start-ups and young, innovative SMEs that already have a working demonstrator or beta version of a disruptive innovation. The aim of the funding is to further develop, optimise, scale and commercialise this innovation within the project period. It does not matter which industry or technology the innovation is in. The programme is open to all topics and looks for the most ambitious, fastest-growing and sustainable solutions for the future.


This attractive funding programme is open again this year, with a budget of €675 million. In this blog post you will find all the information about possible topics, deadlines and application requirements.

With the new EIC Work Programme 2024, the European Innovation Council has also made changes to its EIC Accelerator, and we have summarised the most important changes for applicants.



Topics & application deadlines

There are no limits to your project plans: The EIC Accelerator calls are open to all topics, meaning that all market-changing deeptech projects can apply for funding. There are two application deadlines this year, one in the spring on 13 March 2024 and one in the autumn on 3 October 2024.

In addition, the EIC Accelerator organises thematic challenges each year. The funded projects are expected to contribute to the EU's progress in strategic thematic areas. The application deadlines for the EIC Accelerator Challenges are also 13 March 2024 and 3 October 2024.

EIC Accelerator Challenges 2024:


Who can apply for the EIC Accelerator?

What makes the EIC Accelerator particularly attractive as a European funding programme is the fact that only individual projects are funded. The focus is on your project, your business concept and your marketing strategy. It does not matter whether you have just started your business or are an innovative SME. All companies with up to 250 employees are eligible. It is also possible to collaborate with other companies, universities or research institutes through subcontracts.

What project costs are eligible for funding in the EIC Accelerator?

The EIC Accelerator is not only unique in terms of its framework conditions. The funding also speaks for itself. Almost all project costs incurred are eligible for funding, such as personnel costs, costs for materials, travelling, marketing or even approvals. Funding of up to €2.5 million is possible with a funding rate of 70%.

An attractive addition to the EIC Accelerator is the equity of up to €15 million to accelerate market access and growth. This means that the funding and equity can provide up to €17.5 million of support.

How does the application process for the EIC Accelerator work?

The EIC Accelerator is very popular, so competition for funding is fierce. Only companies with the best management teams and business concepts are able to convince and inspire the experts. To filter out the best of the best from the applicant pool, the EU Commission uses a three-stage application process. Candidates have to prove themselves in a short application, a full application and an interview.

Applicants must first submit an outline (max. 12 A4 pages), a video pitch (max. 3 minutes) and a pitch deck (max. 10 slides). This gives the judges a first impression of the project proposal, the team behind it and the risks involved in the innovation.

Following a positive assessment by the experts, companies are invited to submit a detailed full application (max. 50 A4 pages) with various annexes and a video pitch. This is similar to a business plan and provides information on the innovation, the business model, the team and the financial plan. If the full proposal is convincing, the applicant team will be invited to an interview (max. 45 minutes). The aim of this meeting is to impress the jury in person with a pitch and a subsequent round of questions. Companies that make it through all three stages will be part of Europe's 'Champions League' and can look forward to extensive funding and financing opportunities, as well as further support from the EU's Business Acceleration Services.

What innovations are there in the EIC Accelerator 2024?

In line with current developments and challenges in the EU, the EIC publishes its work programme every year. This is a legally binding document that sets out how EIC will use its funds for the year in question. The work programme is drawn up in consultation with the EIC Board and adopted by the European Commission.

The following changes have been made to the EIC Accelerator:

  • The funding budget for the EIC Accelerator has been reduced to €675 million (open call €375 million and €challenges 300 million) for 2024. Last year, a total of €1.14 billion was available for projects.
  • The first step of the application process has been adapted: The short application now consists of a sketch of 12 A4 pages, a pitch deck and a video. In order to reach the second step of the application process, the full application, the short application must receive at least 3 out of 4 Gos from the jury.
  • There have also been changes to the second step of the application process. The page limit has been reduced to 50 A4 pages and the application must include a video in addition to the attachments and pitch deck.
  • The only funding and financing models available are blended finance or grant/equity only. The grant-first option is no longer available.
  • Funding will now be paid in the form of a lump sum, the amount of which will be determined during the evaluation process. Applicants must therefore propose the amount of the lump sum based on the estimated project costs.
  • When resubmitting the application documents, the option of rebuttal (comments on the feedback from the experts) was abolished.
  • The number of resubmissions is limited: Each applicant has three attempts. If the application has been unsuccessful three times, regardless of the application stage, the applicant will not be able to reapply in Horizon Europe 2021-2027.




With the EIC Accelerator, the EU offers start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises a particularly attractive and lucrative form of support. Successful applicants will receive funding of up to €2.5 million and equity of up to €15 million. The approach of the European funding programme is particularly interesting as it focuses on the market-oriented further development, demonstration and market preparation of a technological product or service.



Just get in touch with us!

Do you have an idea and wonder if it is suitable for the EIC Accelerator? Or do you already have a concrete project and want to start the application process right away? Then get in touch with us. EurA has been part of the programme since its launch in 2014 and, with over 200 applications, is the market leader in the EIC Accelerator and one of the largest consulting firms in Germany.

Find out more about our offer here!


🖊️ Text: Christina Tanosova

Christina Tanosova

Your contact person
Christina Tanosova

Do you want to learn more about this topic? Schedule a meeting with an expert.

As a Grants Advisor, I support EurA's international funding team. During my studies of Political Science and International Relations, I was particularly interested in the funding and investment policies of the European Union. I have many years of professional experience and interdisciplinary knowledge in applying for, managing and implementing European and national funding projects. I will be happy to advise you on international funding opportunities and answer any questions you may have about your project. Let's go through your innovation process together, from the first idea to commercialisation!

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