In the last article of the series concerning the flagship call of Horizon Europe - EIC Accelerator, we look at the second and third stage of evaluation of applications submitted under this instrument, that is, the full proposal and the presentation of the project in front of a panel of experts (pitch-deck).

Full proposal

Applicants whose projects have been positively evaluated in the initial application stage are invited to prepare the so-called " full proposal", which must be submitted within 12 months of their receiving the result of the evaluation of the initial application (link to the previous post here). In 2021, the call for applications will close on October 6. Schedules for the following years will be successively announced.

The evaluation will be carried out according to the rules similar to those applied in the 1st stage. The application will be evaluated by 3 experts, checking the documentation from a technological and business perspective, according to the evaluation criteria:

  1. Excellence
    • whether the innovation has a high degree of novelty compared to existing products, services and business models;
    • whether it has the potential to create a new market or to make a significant change in an existing one and whether it is the right time in terms of market, user and technological trends and developments;
    • whether the innovation has already been tested in a laboratory or similar environments to characterize its potential and assess the level of risk (TRL 5/6).
  2. Impact 
    • whether the innovation has the potential to be scaled up, whether the associated financial needs are adequately assessed yet realistic, and whether the innovation is likely to achieve a pan-European social, economic and environmental impact; whether the market for the innovation has been properly defined, including its specific conditions and anticipated growth rate;
    • whether the competition analysis has been carried out correctly, including identification of potential customers and users, including identification of unique product features and key differences from competing solutions; whether a convincing and well-thought-out commercialization strategy has been proposed;
    • and whether the key partners necessary for commercialization have been identified and engaged.
  3. Level of risk, implementation, and need of EU support
    • whether the project team has the competencies and motivation to implement the proposed innovation and bring it to market, and whether adequate planning has been done to acquire critical competencies currently lacking in the team;
    • whether the commercialization plan includes clearly defined milestones, tasks, expected results, together with the necessary assets and schedule;
    • whether the nature and level of risk of investing in the innovation means that market participants are not willing to commit the entire amount on their own;
    • whether there is evidence that market participants would be willing to invest alongside the EIC or at a later stage.

The evaluation of applications will be carried out in the zero-one system (GO/NO GO). Projects that have received a GO from all three experts under all three criteria will qualify for the next stage of evaluation (pitch-deck meeting).

The expected time for the results to be released is approximately 5-6 weeks from the end of the call.

Interview with EIC Experts

The third and final stage of the evaluation is a meeting with the Experts in the form of a panel - the applicants will get the opportunity to present their projects in front of a jury of up to 6 members. Details of the meeting (date and time, venue, and in the case of remote panels - information about the virtual meeting) will be provided to the applicant at least 1-2 weeks in advance.

The meeting will last a maximum of 40 minutes, of which no more than 10 minutes will be spent on the pitch deck presentation of the project, which must be attached to the full application in the pdf format. The next 30 minutes will be a question and answer session.

Up to 3 representatives of the applicant can participate in the panel.

Meetings will be organized approximately 8-10 weeks after the end of the call (or longer if necessary - for the call ending in October, the planned date of the panel meetings is December). Applicants will be notified of the results within 2-3 weeks after the meeting.

What if I do not succeed?

As in the case of the first stage, applications evaluated negatively can be corrected and resubmitted. After two unsuccessful attempts to apply for funding, there will be a 12-month freeze period during which the applicant will not be able to submit applications. In addition, start-ups that have received a positive assessment under the Excellence and Impact criteria, but have not demonstrated a sufficient level of risk, which does not justify the need for EU support, can receive a Seal of Excellence certificate, entitling them, among other things, to compete in dedicated calls at the national level.

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