We have a thorough understanding of the specific characteristics of the innovation cycle in the broad field of life sciences, including biotechnology, chemistry, human and veterinary medicine, pharma, food or cosmetics industry. Our team has a unique experience in the IP protection and commercialization in these sectors of science and industry.
We provide comprehensive support services of experienced patent attorneys, scientists and experts in IP protection, IP management, technology transfer, and commercialization in BioMed sectors.
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European highway to innovation
It is no secret that Europe is a powerhouse for science. The Europeans know how to create the highest quality science out of the money invested in it. Nevertheless, it does not work the other way around. We are not so good at making money out of science. It seems that there are gaps in the system that stop us, Europeans, from reaping the fruits of our great scientific discoveries and novel technological ideas. Fortunately, leaders of the EU noticed this crucial problem and responded by creating the European Innovation Council (EIC), a body dedicated specifically to fill those gaps with appropriate funds. The Council was launched in 2017, initially running a few successful pilot programs. Now, on March 17, 2021 it entered into full speed with the re-launch of the new EIC, the third pillar and a key part of the Horizon Europe, the funding program for research and innovation.
We often look up to the US as our role model for progress in technology and innovation. This progress is founded on the famously entrepreneurial spirit of the Americans. In the field of deep-tech, this spirit is translated into the startup companies growing out of the scientific or technological ideas. If successful, the startups become a solid part of the Small/Medium Enterprise (SME) sector or expand even more into large companies or corporations. However, Europe is lagging behind the US in the field of breakthrough innovation. Surprisingly, the problem is not a number of startups funded every year. In fact, Europe is winning the competition in that respect as it was said during the EIC’s Applicants Day. So, where are the shortcomings of the system and what are the winning strategies for efficient innovation?
The European problems with innovation concern 3 main areas: performance, funding and ecosystem. Strong research performance is lost in translation to business fields, so we are missing disruptive innovations that create new markets. Considerable funding for innovation is available, but two gaps are visible: transition from the lab to enterprise and scaling up of high-risk innovative startups. We can also see many national and local ecosystems, but they are fragmented and need to be more inclusive, that is to involve more regions but also more female talent, as emphasized by the EIC representatives. Trying to envision the post-COVID (hopefully) economy, while trying to steer clear of a massive pandemic-related crisis before it really hits us, Europe decided to respond with the most ambitious innovation initiative ever. EUR 10 billion was allocated to the new EIC’s budget for its programs dedicated to identification, development and scaling up of the breakthrough technologies and disruptive innovations. If spent prudently, this sum gives hope for the European highway towards innovation and away from the potential crisis.
EIC’s mission is to identify, develop and deploy high risk innovations of all kinds focusing on the breakthroughs, market-creating and deep-tech. These goals shall be achieved through four main instruments: EIC Board steering the leading innovators into the right business path, business acceleration services, pro-active management and follow ups on funding for results from Horizon 2020. EIC Board will constitute an expert base of the program. Pro-active management will guarantee a solid daily support and flexibility for efficient control. The follow ups on previous results will constitute an additional asset. However, the lion’s share of funding will be dedicated to business acceleration.
EIC’s business acceleration services consist of three main programs supporting consecutive steps to innovation: Pathfinder, Transition and Accelerator. Pathfinder grants are up to EUR 3-4 million and they are dedicated mostly to the early stage research on breakthrough technologies. Transition grants address the stage of technology maturation, that is the development phase from the proof of concept to validation. They are about EUR 2.5 million per project. Accelerator funds provide the most generous sums – up to EUR 2.5 million in grants and up to EUR 15 million in the equity investment. The Accelerator aims to develop and scale up deep-tech innovations generated by startups and the SMEs. These funds can be readily accessible to any entrepreneur. However, if you think about applying for these grants you need to identify a correct program, understand the detailed rules and regulations of the application process, and most importantly, know the expectations on the EIC’s side.
Sigeon IP provides this kind of grantsmanship services. Our technology transfer and commercialization experts with broad international experience are able to help any potential applicant to identify the best fitting EIC program. Moreover, we can help you to find international partners for your application, which may be crucial given relatively short deadlines for the Pathfinder and Transition applications, that is May 19 and June 9 respectively. There is slightly more time to apply for the Accelerator program whose deadline is planned for September 22. However, this instrument demands more complex preparation. Finally, the EIC programs are designed to be flexible at this point because they represent a novel approach that has to be tested by the EIC as well. Therefore, you may increase your chances by responding to the first, the most flexible calls for grants. We will be extremely glad to help you set off on the European highway to innovation!
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