EIC looks at international practices for enhancing innovation

“To support breakthrough innovations, the EIC must itself be an organisational breakthrough in Europe”


“In our view, the main components for achieving this endeavour are centred on the creation of challenge- and thematic-driven programmes, active portfolio management of funded projects, transition activities that bring new solutions to the market and EIC Programme Managers who bind all of this together into complementary practices”.
– Independent Expert Group


One year ago, during the Innovative Enterprise Week in July 2019, the FETFX project asked Dr. Lars Frølund which were the major novelties on the vision behind the European Innovation Council under Horizon Europe.


He emphasized the relevance on the identification of the EIC Programme Managers, with the role to taking care of the EIC Pathfinder funded projects and making sure that they’ll be ready with the technological development, to start bringing them into the market.



On 11th November 2020, the Independent Expert Group led by Dr. Frølund, published its visions and recommendations on successfully Implementing the pro-active management of the EIC pathfinder for breakthrough technologies & innovations.


The outstanding publication describes the lessons learnt from the US ARPA-like models and international practices, and move forward to identify key recommendation for the establishment of the fully-fledge EIC, focusing its analysis on three main streamlines:

  • Programme creation”, on the conception, validation and approval process of challenge-driven programmes, including recommendations for the evaluation and selection of projects for the portfolio of a challenge-driven programme.
  • Active portfolio management”, as a decisive way to increase the probability of success of a portfolio of high-risk projects.
  • Transition activities”, focuses on how to substantially improve and accelerate the transition of a project and portfolio towards having socioeconomic impact.


Key identified recommendations are:

Programme Creation

  • Empower and support excellent Programme Managers (PMs)
  • Create programmes in a process that balances the vision of the PM and diverse insights from across Europe
  • Ensure that programmes articulate a clear strategy beyond the confines of the laboratory
  • Utilise the EIC programme questions
  • Have a nimble programme approval process
  • Intimately involve the PMs in proposal evaluation and selection


Active Portfolio Management

  • Integrate contracting into active portfolio management
  • Ensure PMs have direct and active relationships with the projects
  • Accelerate, reorient and/or terminate all projects and programmes according to their ability to achieve the negotiated milestones
  • Allow for top-up funding for programmes


Transition Activities

  • Develop a transition strategy at the programme level
  • Establish a transition plan at the project level and allocate 5–10 % of the total grant to transition activities
  • Create a tech-to-market team and establish EIC fellowships
  • Create an innovation ecosystem engagement plan and transition working groups
  • Create an EIC deep-tech training programme and a dynamic customer relationship management system


You may find the Independent Expert Report here.


Cover photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash