European Commission launches €100m ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ pilot

22 Jul 2014

A new €100m ‘Fast Track to Innovation’ pilot action that provides businesses and organisations with grants to get great ideas to market has been unveiled by the European Commission.

The action and five specific prizes offer a reward for technology breakthroughs that have high societal relevance.

The Fast Track to Innovation scheme will be open to applications from January 2015. It will support a small consortia of three to five organisations 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 with Horizon 2020.

The contests for the five innovation prizes will start in late 2014 and early 2015. The prizes, worth €6m 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’, ‘Optical Transmission Prize’).

Enormous response to €7bn calls for 2015

The European Commission also confirmed the €7bn for Horizon 2020 calls during 2015 and sets out a timeline for applications.

“The response to the first Horizon 2020 calls has been enormous, with more than 17,000 proposals already submitted,” said European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

“I am impressed by the clear rise in industry interest, particularly from small businesses. Today we are firing the starting gun on the 2015 calls and I am confident they will meet equally strong demand.

“The Fast Track to Innovation and the new prizes will provide even more opportunities for innovators across Europe to get involved. With these measures we are contributing to increase Europe’s competitiveness and create growth and jobs,” Geoghegan-Quinn said.

European Parliament image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years