In late July, the European Commission presented details of a new €100 million “Fast Track to Innovation” (FTI) pilot action and five innovation prizes under Horizon 2020. The FTI aims to support Europe’s economy by offering innovative businesses and organizations grants to give a final push to get great ideas to market. The prizes offer a reward for technological breakthroughs of high societal relevance. The initiatives underscore the drive to support innovation in Europe as part of the first, two-year Horizon 2020 work programme. The announcement also confirmed the €7 billion for Horizon 2020 calls during 2015 and set out the timetable for applications.
The Fast Track to Innovation scheme will be open to applications from January 2015. It will support small consortia of three to five organizations with strong business participation to give promising ideas the last push before entering the market. It is open to ideas in any area of technology or application and to any legal entity established in the EU or in a country associated to Horizon 2020.
The contests for the five innovation prizes will start in late 2014 and early 2015. The prizes, worth €6 million in 2015, cover three different thematic areas of research: health (“Reduction of the Use of Antibiotics Prize”, “Food-Scanner Prize”), the environment (“Reduction of Air Pollution Prize”) and ICT (“Collaborative Sharing of Spectrum Prize”, “Optical Transmission Prize”).
The updated H2020 work programme adopted in July confirms details of the calls for proposals for 2015 first announced last December and specifies the deadlines for proposals. All funding opportunities under Horizon 2020 are accessible from the Participant Portal at http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/home.html