EIC Board Aims to Double Participation from Widening Countries
Today, the EIC Board took a significant step towards increasing the participation of widening countries in EIC (European Innovation Council) programmes. With a clear goal in mind, the Board aims to increase the share of widening countries' participation to at least 15% across all EIC instruments, doubling the current level of less than 8%.
While the EIC Board strongly supports the principle of excellence in funding allocation, it is also aware of the untapped potential for excellence in widening countries. Several key actions have been recommended. Among them is the "Hop On" scheme, which has already shown promising results by funding additional partners from widening countries to participate in EIC Pathfinder projects.
Progress is evident, with the share of widening countries in EIC Accelerator applications increasing from 16% to 21% (Step 1) and from 11% to 14% (Step 2) between 2021 and 2022. However, there is still room for improvement, as widening countries received only 8.5% of total EIC Pathfinder funding and 7.1% of total EIC Accelerator funding in 2022. Additionally, seven widening countries are currently unrepresented in the Accelerator.
To address these challenges, the EIC Board recommends urgent actions, including better dissemination of information about the EIC and dedicated training opportunities. Furthermore, to ensure fairness and diversity, a minimum of 30% of evaluators and jury members should be from widening countries.
RISE is keen to address the issues identified by the EIC Board and engage in supporting the local ecosystems with raising awareness, trainings and supporting proposal writing. We encourage all stakeholders to read the full statement of the Board and join us in supporting the growth of innovation in whole Europe. Together, we can unlock the full potential of brilliant minds in widening countries and drive impactful progress.