Fast-tracking innovation: Euro 200 million funding initiative goes live

The European Commission wants to speed up the translation of new ideas into socio-economic value and is implementing a range of funding packages to meet this challenge, such as its Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) call, which opened this month.

Supporters hope that the FTI scheme (see leaflet pdf) will act as an incentive for European industry to continue investing in innovation, and lead to “game-changers” for growth and jobs in tomorrow’s economy.

The pilot programme, which will be reviewed in 2016, has a budget of Euro 200 million and seeks projects that are at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or above – in other words, technologies that have been demonstrated in a relevant environment.

Grants of up to Euro 3 million are available to successful applicants to support activities including systems validation in real working conditions, testing, piloting, business model validation, and standard setting.

Proposals must describe the market potential of the technology and include a credible commercialisation strategy that identifies the next steps.

If you are interested in applying, the first step is to contact your closest National Contact Point (NCP) for advice on whether or not the FTI pilot call is a suitable opportunity for your organisation or consortium.

A list of FAQs (MS Word doc) is also available from the FTI participant portal.

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Fast Track to Innovation: close-to-market funding programme announces timetable for applicants

Innovation in Europe: an update on Horizon 2020

Fast Track to Innovation: close-to-market funding programme announces timetable for applicants

Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) is a new element of Europe’s Horizon 2020 programme, and focuses on supporting ideas in the final stages of their journey from lab to market across a broad range of applications. The scheme, which offers grants to translate technology into products, processes and services, is set to launch as a pilot action in 2015 and has a budget of Euro 200 million.

Start date
The FTI programme will be run as a permanently open call starting 6 January 2015 with three cut-off-dates (to evaluate proposals), which have been announced as 29 April, 1 September and 1 December. Time-to-grant for participants will be six months at most.

The scheme requires that proposals are business-driven and close-to-market, and to be eligible for funding, applicants must team-up with two to four project partners. Objectives of the FTI programme include increasing the participation of industry, SMEs and first-time applicants in Horizon 2020.

The FTI programme will be assessed as part of the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 in 2017.

For more details visit

Related links

Horizon 2020 online manual

Innovation in Europe: an update on Horizon 2020

With the first calls for proposals due to be published in December, the wheels are soon to begin turning on Horizon 2020 – the EU framework programme for research and innovation 2014-2020, and successor to FP7.

Priorities for Horizon 2020 include raising the level of excellence in Europe’s science base as a platform for innovation, and fostering industrial leadership to speed up the deployment of technology to tackle societal challenges in health, the environment, energy and transport.

Whether Europe achieves these goals will depend on the translation of scientific breakthroughs into products and services, and the support that Horizon 2020 can provide to the innovation community.

For an update, TMR+ tuned in to “From Lab to Market: Horizon 2020 – and how the EU can advance innovation”, a panel discussion held this week at the European Parliament in Brussels and broadcast via the website –

The event featured MEPs closely involved with the drafting of Horizon 2020 –

Maria Da Graça Carvalho (Portugal)
Christian Ehler (Germany)
James Elles (UK)

And also gave Hermann Hauser, a serial entrepreneur based in Cambridge, UK, and co-founder of VC firm – Amadeus Capital Partners, the opportunity to speak out on what it takes to commercialize university research.

So what did they have to say? What are the positives?
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