One of the European Commission's major challenges and concerns is to break the wall that prevents innovative ideas and enterprises from achieving a rapid scale-up, an excellent market positioning, a smooth commercialization of their products and services and finally endowing Europe of high-skilled jobs.
The European Commission through the European Innovation Council (EIC) (EU’s new research commercialisation arm) has articulated four highly competitive programmes (the SME Instrument, Fast Track to Innovation (FTI), FET Open and Innovation Prizes) to meet its objective of boosting the impact and exploitation potential of innovative and high-quality Research and Innovation undertaken in Europe.
In the period 2018-2020 of Horizon 2020, FTI will be the central part of the EIC and will focuses on strengthening European industrial leadership by funding radically new, breakthrough products, services, processes or business models that open up new markets (Draft Work Programme).
FTI closed its pilot phase (2015-2016) with a categorical success, benefitting 17 projects in which 80 partners from 19 countries were involved. They received around €2million each and €200 million for the whole FTI scheme.
We are now looking forward to the opening of the new FTI call next 7th of November which will bring with it 9 cut-off dates in the period 2018-2020 and €300 million to fund relatively mature and innovative ideas that will have 3 years to break into new markets with high potential.
The scheme of the call will be the same as in its pilot phase and will attract consortia with marked industrial character of any sector although the call is open to all kind of participants. The topic is also open but focused on “societal challenges” and supported activities will include piloting, test-beds, systems validation in real-world working conditions, validation of business models, pre-normative research, and standard-setting.
As in its previous pilot phase, the call is continuously open, meaning that proposals could be submitted at any time, being the evaluation period no longer than 3 months after the last cut-off date.
Remember that FTI is a fantastic opportunity to make your idea timely, take advantage of the window of opportunity and boost the exploitation and commercialization potential.