Development of new science based products to benefit society
By Ingemar Pongratz
The European Commission has recently is in the process of launching a number of new innovation instruments in the context of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation scheme. This includes the European Research Council (EIC) which aims to support European innovators and entrepreneurs with financial support. The EIC activities has recently stated its operations and the first round of funding has been awarded to European partners. The EIC will continue to function in the Horizon Europe programme the follow up to Horizon 2020.
The EIC pilot will support both enterprises through the SME-Instrument and Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) schemes, where the SME-Instrument scheme aims primarily Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and the FTI scheme is open to both small and larger companies which need financial support.
This support is characterized by blended finance (Grants and / or Seed / Risk Capital)
The EIC will also support basic research, through the EIC PATHFINDER scheme. This scheme will provide grants only and is directed primarily towards early stage research. This means that Universities and Research Institutes will be the main recipients of these funds.
In many ways, this is a strange priority. Development of new science based products to benefit society is an important priority. However, the academic sector has many possibilities to apply for Horizon 202 funds and will remain the main applicant in the future Horizon Europe programme. The private sector is much smaller recipients of public support from European sources. It seems unnecessary to mix and dilute the funding from the EIC.
In addition, the Pathfinder EIC scheme is focusing on really early stage research. This means that the benefits to the European public are far ahead in the future. The process to bring new research findings to the market is slow and complicated and there are already schemes available to support early stage research.
One area that would be interesting to fund is a purely translational scheme, where already funded and published research is translated into new products and services. Here the path to market would be considerably shorter. Sometimes, there are still possibilities to protect further development through patents using a smart strategy so this would not necessarily be a major hurdle. Also supporting translation would secure the financial investment made on research and translate this investment into products and services that benefit the EU public.
Development of new science based products to benefit society is an important priority. This approach would also support early stage entrepreneurs in Europe.
Ingemar Pongratz is an entrepreneur / consultant. We help organizations through Pongratz Consulting to apply for public funding including the Horizon 2020 scheme. In addition, we are working on new health promoting products. If you wish to know more, please contact me by email or through the online contact form below