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Research and innovation
News article20 March 2024Directorate-General for Research and Innovation4 min read

European Innovation Agenda on the move: Commission presents progress on actions supporting home-grown innovation

Less than two years after its launch, the New European Innovation Agenda (NEIA) is in full swing. According to a report published today by the Commission, 13 out of its 25 actions have been completed while another 12 are ongoing. This ambitious agenda aims at boosting deep tech innovation and untapping innovation potential in Europe through a variety of actions in five flagship areas and with a central role of the European Innovation Council (EIC), as well as the European Institute for Innovation and technology (EIT).

Key deliverables include:

  • new Directives proposed in access to finance for scale-ups and SMEs (Listing Act and Debt Equity Bias Reduction Allowance). These will allow innovative companies to be listed more easily in stock markets and encourage them to use equity financing, instead of debt financing
  • actions to attract institutional investors (such as pension funds and insurance companies) in scale-up venture capital funds. This will increase the amount of capital that venture capital funds can invest in innovative companies
  • initiatives to promote innovation procurement and experimentation spaces (such as regulatory sandboxes). These will provide additional support to innovative companies and help them in the regulatory process
  • the reinforcement of innovation ecosystems and addressing the innovation divide through the development of innovation-oriented networks of regions (Regional Innovation Valleys, see below), and of Universities (Erasmus Plus Alliances for Innovation). Furthermore, the EIC will support a new network of promising scale-ups to accelerate their growth (EIC Scale-up 100 Club)
  • skills development through the Deep Tech Talent Initiative of the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology), where 1 million people will receive training opportunities in Europe; or the Innovation Talent Pool platform, that will  facilitate mobility of skilled individuals towards and within Europe through international recruitment

Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said,

"The New European Innovation Agenda is our key tool for boosting and promoting home-grown innovation in the EU. We can be proud of what we have already achieved in the past two years, and I look forward to seeing the agenda deliver on the remaining commitments as we move forward.”

In addition to the 25 actions of the New European Innovation Agenda, the report includes measures announced by Member States and Associated Countries in support of the NEIA ranging from AI academies to Free Technological zones, from Observatories on the startups to special visa for researchers, to national innovation laws to funding programmes. Over 200 actions have been mapped by the EIC Forum, where representatives of Member States and Associated Countries present and discuss innovation policies and instruments.

The above-mentioned actions are in addition to a number of innovation-related initiatives launched by the Commission in sectoral policies such as the green and digital transition, energy, space, health etc.

In addition, more than 150 regions are on track to become Regional Innovation Valleys. The Commission plans to announce the names of these regions in Summer 2024. More than 250 innovation stakeholders in these regions are expected to be granted a total of over €115 million of EU funding and committed to co-fund another €77 million from private and public sources.


On the New European Innovation Agenda

Innovation is a cross-cutting priority contributing to both the green and digital transition, European competitiveness, economic security and open strategic autonomy. In July 2022 the Commission launched the NEIA to position Europe at the forefront of the new wave of deep tech innovation.  The measures put forward in the NEIA, grouped under five flagship areas, aim at leveraging the strengths of the EU’s Single Market, industrial base, talents, stable institutions and democratic societies to drive deep tech innovation in Europe, and deliver on the opportunities offered by the twin transition and the need for economic security and future strategic autonomy. This is complemented by the work on European Research Area (ERA) aiming to build a true European single market for research and innovation.

The toolkit of EU innovation policy has expanded over the years. With its Innovative Europe pillar, Horizon Europe has given rise to new tools to support start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs.

In particular, the European Innovation Council (EIC), a flagship EUR 10 billion initiative, has been named “the Unicorns factory” for its capacity to identify, support and scale start-ups and other innovative companies in key areas such as AI, Advanced Materials, Battery Technologies, Biotechnology, Hydrogen, Quantum and Semiconductors, also by the means of equity via the EIC Fund. Through the EIC Accelerator the EIC Fund has approved investments of well over EUR 1 billion in over 200 of such companies since its establishment, making it the most active start-up investor in Europe.

Horizon Europe also funds the European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) projects (including the new “Regional Innovation Valleys”) and the activities of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Since its creation (2008) the EIT has been a driver of the research, innovation and education knowledge triangle integration. With its strong education dimension, EIT has also provided opportunities for students, innovators, and entrepreneurs across Europe. The EIT comprises the long-term European partnerships, known as Knowledge and Innovation Communities (EIT KICs), that power innovation and entrepreneurship in areas such as climate change, sustainable energy, health, food, manufacturing, raw materials, digitalisation, urban mobility or culture and creativity. The EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative, a flagship under the NEIA, aims at training 1 million people in various deep tech domains by the end of 2025, with currently more than 750.000 talents pledged to be trained already.

More information

Report: New European Innovation Agenda on the move

Factsheet: A News European Innovation Agenda on the move

NEIA implementation page


Press contact:

EC Spokesperson for Research, Science and Innovation


Publication date
20 March 2024
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation