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Research and innovation
News article23 December 2020Directorate-General for Research and Innovation1 min read

Commission awards 1291 Seal of Excellence certificates to excellent start-ups and SMEs

Last week, the European Commission awarded 1291 Seal of Excellence certificates to high quality proposals by start-ups and SMEs, that undergo the same competitive evaluation as the final 38 selected projects submitted under European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Pilot October cut-off.

The Seal certificate, co-signed by Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, and Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, is addressed to excellent proposals from the EIC Accelerator call which have been evaluated worth of funding, but for which Horizon 2020 did not have enough resources in the call. The co-signature demonstrates concrete synergies between Horizon 2020 and the Structural Funds, as well the commitment to strengthen those, now and in the future.

More than 150 of the proposals that received a Seal focus on medical devices, showing strong support toward the current corona crisis. Furthermore, a great number of proposals focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and environmental issues, in  line with the Commission’s priority to ensure a digital and green transition. The Seal of Excellence award will help start-ups and SMEs to find the funding they need to implement their proposals from additional sources.

The European Commission continues to support Seal Holders byfacilitating national and regional authorities to prepare Seal of Excellence support schemes, and through a Seal Community of Practice meeting that will take place at the end of January. Pitches to present the results to private funders will also be organised organised. The aggregated data with national/regional breakdown is available in the dashboard.

To promote your support scheme or your Seal proposal, please tweet #SealOfExcellence or write to RTD-Seal-Of-Excellenceatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (RTD-Seal-Of-Excellence[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)


Since the launch of the Seal initiative in 2015, , 44 funding schemes for Seal proposals have been put in place at a national or regional level in 18 countries. This led to around 600 Seal projects supported so far, of which about 200 Seal Holders from the Structural Funds. A number of Member States are already planning to set up new schemes in the following period.

The Commission will continue working with the Member States to increase the uptake of the Seals, improve programmes monitoring systems and to better capture funding schemes for Seal proposals in Member States.

More information

Seal of Excellence


Publication date
23 December 2020
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation