What is the Fast Track to Innovation?
The Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot provides funding for bottom-up proposals for close-to-market innovation activities in any area of technology or application.
This thematic openness – combined with the possibility for all kinds of innovation actors to work together and deliver innovation onto the market and/or into society – should nurture trans-disciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation.
The aim is to:
· reduce time from idea to market,
· stimulate the participation of first-time applicants to EU research funding, and
· increase private sector investment in research and innovation.
Who can apply?
Proposals for funding must be submitted by consortia comprising between three and five legal entities established in at least three different EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020.
Unlike the SME Instrument the FTI is not restricted to SMEs but it certainly requires substantial industry involvement in FTI actions will be mandatory to ensure quick market take-up.
This industry involvement will imply:
· either the allocation of at least 60% of the budget to industry participants in the consortium,
· or the presence of a minimum number of two industry participants in a consortium of three or four partners, or of three industry participants in a consortium of five partners.
Universities, research and technology organisations and further innovation actors may also participate. Actors that can play a key role in the commercialisation process are encouraged to take part, such as cluster organisations, end-users, industrial associations, incubators, investors, or the public sector. First-time industry applicants and SMEs are particularly welcome.
How will the FTI pilot be implemented?
The total budget of the FTI Pilot for 2015 and 2016 will be €200 million (€100 million per year). The Fast Track to Innovation Pilot is a bottom-up scheme, meaning that it has no defined topic. However, proposals must be related to a field under the specific objective "Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies" and/or to any of the "Societal challenges" of Horizon 2020. Interdisciplinary or cross-sectoral projects are encouraged.
Proposals should build on a business plan, and focus foremost on achieving high impact. As for proposals for other Horizon 2020 innovation actions, “excellence” and “implementation” will also be assessed, yet only if the minimum threshold for “impact” is achieved.
Time-to-grant for participants will be six months at most and the time to initial market take-up of the innovation that is proposed for funding should not exceed 36 months from the beginning of the funded action.
EU funding levels are fixed at 70% of the eligible costs, while for non-profit entities this can go up to 100%. The EU contribution per action is expected to be between €1 million and €2 million and in some cases it can reach up to €3 million.
Actions funded under the pilot are to be ‘business-driven’ because they are intended to give promising innovation ideas the last push before entering the market.
The Fast Track to Innovation scheme opened for applications on the 6th of January 2015 and there are three cut-off dates in 2016:
· March 15th
· June 1st
· October 25th
We can help you develop the strategy for your FTI project and manage the FTI application procedure.
Click here to download our flyer.