Startups developing tech to combat COVID-19 urged to apply for fast-track EU funding

The European Commission put out a call Friday for startups and small businesses which are developing technologies that could help combat the COVID-19 outbreak to apply for fast-track EU funding.

The push is related to a €164M pot of money that’s being made available for R&D via the European Innovation Council (EIC) — a European Union funding vehicle which supports the commercialization of high risk, high impact technologies.

Per the Commission, the funding does not have any particular thematic priorities attached to it but it said today it will look to “fast track the awarding of EIC grants and blended finance (combining grant and equity investment) to Coronavirus relevant innovations, as well as to facilitate access to other funding and investment sources”.

The deadline for this call for applications to the EIC Accelerator is 17:00 on March 18 CET.

The Commission has a page of tips for applicants here.

It notes EIC funding is already supporting a number of startups and SMEs with “Coronavirus relevant innovations” from funding awarded in previous rounds — pointing to the EpiShuttle project for specialised isolation units; the m-TAP project for filtration technology to remove viral material; and the MBENT project to track human mobility during epidemics.

The EIC is itself funded under the EU’s Horizon Europe research framework program.

Back in February the Commission said it expected to sign off on a significant increase for the EIC budget as of this month — to support “game-changing, market-creating innovation and deep-tech SMEs to scale-up”, as it works towards launching the next seven-year round of the Horizon Europe program, in 2021.

It also said there would be a one-off EIC Accelerator call for ‘green deal’ start-ups and SMEs in May 2020 cut-off round, to align with its push to make the bloc carbon neutral by 2050.