EIC Transition: From Infancy Towards Commercialisation
EIC Transition is one of the three funding programmes of the European Innovation Council (EIC). It focuses on a very specific phase in the innovation development process. The aim of the funding programme is to address, mature and validate a novel technology application through to the development of a sustainable business model and commercialisation. EIC Transition acts as a transition programme and only supports projects that are linked to a previous EU-funded projects.
Themes & application deadlines
You can apply for EIC Transition funding twice this year. There will be one open call and one specific call for proposals each time. Both calls have a spring deadline of 12 April 2023 and an autumn deadline of 27 September 2023.
Up to €2.5 million with a 100% funding rate.
This year, the EIC Transition has a total budget of €128.36 million. A total of €67.86 million is available for projects submitted under the open call for proposals. A budget of approximately 60.50 million euros is available for projects submitted in response to the thematic call for proposals. Successful applicants can expect to receive between €0.5 and €2.5 million in funding, which is 100% funded. EIC Transition projects typically last between one and three years. Successful promoters can expect accessto helpful services and contact with EIC programme managers in addition to financial support. Getting funded through EIC Transition also opens other lucrative funding opportunities.
What requirements must be met?
Funding is provided for innovation activities beyond experimental proof of principle in laboratories (TRL 3). This will include maturing and validating a novel technology, e.g. by using prototypes, formulations, models, user tests or other validation tests (TRL 4). The investigation and development of a sustainable business model and the commercialisation of the technological innovation also play a role. Transition projects funded by the EIC Transition should address both technology and market/business development in a balanced way. Repetitive learning processes based on early customer or user feedback may be included.
Who can apply?
For the application it is important that the further development of a technology is based on results achieved in previous EU funded projects. For example, projects which were funded by the EIC Pathfinder, the European Research Council or the European Defence Fund (EDF) may be considered. If the application is based on an ongoing funded project, it is only possible to apply for EIC Transition funding after a project duration of twelve months. If the application is based on a completed funded project, the application to the EIC Transition must be made within two years of the completion of the previous project. Applicants who have not been involved in a previous funded project may also apply to the EIC Transition. In this case, it is necessary that they have the rights and obligations to the existing technological project base.
Applications are generally open to individual legal entities, e.g. start-ups, SMEs or research institutions from an EU Member State or associated country, for example Norway, Iceland, Israel or Georgia. Small and large consortia with two or up to five independent partners from different EU countries or associated states are also eligible to apply. Collaborative partners are, for example, start-ups, SMEs, research institutions or even corporations as well as potential customers and end users (e.g. hospitals, utilities or regulatory authorities).
How to apply?
The application documents, usually 20 A4 pages, must be submitted in digital form only via the EU Commission's online grant application portal by the application deadline. EIC experts are responsible for assessing the applications and feedback is usually given within nine weeks. In case of a positive response, applicants will be invited for an interview with a jury of six experts. The time between the application deadline and the start of the project is usually eight months.
EIC Transition Open
This year there will be an open call for the EIC Transition in spring and autumn. There are no thematic restrictions. Proposals can be submitted in the fields of science, technology or application. It is important that the projects deal with the development of technology and the development of markets to an equal extent. The required outcomes of EIC Transition projects are a) a technology that has been proven effective for the intended application and b) a business model with a business plan for the development of the technological innovation to market maturity.
EIC Transition Challenges
In addition to the open calls, there are also so-called EIC Transition Challenges this year. In spring and autumn 2023, the EIC calls for project applications that contribute to solving or approaching an overarching goal. This year, there are three challenges in the EIC Transition: 1) Scale micro-nano-bio-devices for medical applications and applied medical research, 2) Environmental intelligence and 3) Chip-sized optical frequency combs.
1. Full scale Micro-Nano-Bio devices for medical and medical research applications
Clinical tasks in research and development are becoming more and more complex. Technologies at the interface of microelectronics, nanotechnology, biosensors, microfluidics and analytics have great potential. They offer high throughput, scalability, miniaturisation and automation. Previous EU-funded projects have successfully achieved experimental proof of concept with laboratory validation, bringing the state of the art in micro-nano-bio-systems to an unprecedented technical level.
The first EIC Transition Challenge aims to further develop micro-nano-biotechnology and make it marketable. The focus is on the realisation and validation of a fully functional integrated micro-nano-bio device or system based on micro-nano-bio modules developed in previous EU-funded projects. The focus will be on the realisation and validation of a fully functional integrated micro-nano-bio device or system, which will be based on micro-nano-bio modules developed in previous EU-funded projects. For example, the principles underlying the functioning of cells or pathogens will be explored through advanced milli-/microfluidics (e.g., complex 3D flows, organ or body-on-chips, nanopores/nanocavities), integrated biosensing (e.g., using MEMS/NEMS, photonics and imaging, surface functionalisation, arrays), novel biomaterials and chemistry. Furthermore, the aim is to streamline the process of discovering or producing therapies and to minimise animal testing. To this end, applicants may rely on high-performance computing and advanced artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML), parallelization of experiments through array micro-architectures, and embedded control for autonomous process optimisation.
2. Environmental intelligence
Increasing environmental pollution poses major risks to the health of the soil, hydrosphere, air and humanity. The methods developed to date to remove and clean up pollutants are either too complex, costly or energy intensive. There is still a great need for innovative sensors, equipment or technologies that can detect and monitor pollution levels. To prevent and reduce risks, research is needed into environmental intelligence and the development of more efficient, accurate and effective measurement techniques. It is important that these can operate in remote areas, such as the oceans, and remove pollutants from the hydrosphere, air or soil.
The second challenge aims to support the further development of new devices, sensors or technologies. These must have a clear and quantifiable advantage over existing alternatives in one or more of the key aspects mentioned above. Proposals should address new materials, processes or systems, such as chemical, biological and physical technology solutions. Technologies that combine sensors and artificial intelligence to collect and analyse data for pollution monitoring and remediation are also of interest. In addition, solutions will be developed to detect, combine, analyse and interpret data. The aim is to detect water shortages, habitat destruction or global warming at an early stage, either locally or remotely using satellites.
At the end of the project, a mature technological prototype should be presented that has been tested and demonstrated in an appropriate environment, e.g., soil, air or water (TRL 5/6). It should have a clear advantage over existing devices, sensors or technologies.
3. Chip-scale optical frequency combs
Photonically integrated frequency combs represent a new class of on-chip frequency combs generated by non-linear parametric amplification or other effects. In contrast to laser frequency combs, on-chip frequency combs offer several advantages. They are compact, offer a high mode spacing that is compatible with the telecom network, can be integrated with other functions and are compatible with wafer-scale integration, i.e., for the mass production of semiconductors. Over the past decade, photonic integrated frequency combs have made remarkable progress. They can now be battery powered and integrated with III-V amplifying media. They also have the potential for many system-level applications, ranging from terabits per second coherent communications and parallel LIDAR to neuro-morphic computing, microwave generation and astrophysical spectrometer calibration. Further applications can be found in Raman spectroscopy and bio-sensing, e.g., in medical diagnostics, environmental sensing and food production.
Advancing the technological development of light states in driven nonlinear systems and developing new platforms for chip-scale frequency combs is the overall objective of the third EIC Transition Challenge. The focus will be on the development of novel technologies for applications. For example, the maturation of frequency comb technologies to integrate other functional elements compatible with wafer-scale manufacturing is conceivable. The use of new non-linear materials such as gallium phosphide, lithium niobate or similar may also be considered.
Overall, the projects funded by EIC Transition should lead to novel outcomes that enable profound technological innovations for next-generation chip technologies, creating a strong competitive advantage for future start-ups and SMEs. In turn, EIC can support them in scaling up through its Accelerator funding programme.
EIC Transition supports the further development and demonstration of novel technologies (TRL 4 to 6) that have been developed and validated in a previous EU-funded project. Business and market development of the technological innovation is also supported. Project proposals will be funded up to €2.5 million at a rate of 100%.
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Are you unsure which project call you should apply to? Whether it’s the EIC Transition open call or your participation in the Challenges, we are happy to advise you.
Autorin: Christina Tanosova
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I have been successfully involved in international projects for around 10 years. I have designed and coordinated international research consortia as well as (co-)developed and successfully implemented more than 50 business plans for highly innovative deep-tech start-ups. To keep sharpening my knowledge, I am a founding member of the European Association of Innovation Consultants (EAIC) and represents EurA there. Therefore I am always a very good first point of contact for questions about international funding projects.
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