Skip to main content
Research and innovation
News article11 November 2020Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

To support breakthrough innovations, the European Innovation Council (EIC) should take a hands-on, challenge-driven approach, according to an international expert group

A challenge-driven approach, high impact projects, and visionary Programme Managers are vital if the wealth of research results on emerging technologies produced in Europe are to have impact, according to a high-level expert report published today. The report’s recommendations will feed into the implementation of the EIC, due to be launched in early 2021 under the Horizon Europe programme.

The experts drew on a broad range of international experience, including from the US DARPA and ARPA-E agencies. The report focuses its recommendation in three overall areas with the objective of achieving maximum impact of EU funding through the EIC:

  • Programme Creation: The creation of high impact challenge-driven funding, focused on developing solutions to discrete challenges via emerging technological opportunities
  • Active Portfolio Management: The use of active portfolio management by EIC Programme managers to mitigate risks and increase impacts across a portfolio of projects.
  • Transition Activities: The hands-on support by EIC Programme Managers and dedicated funding to catalyse transitions from lab to market and engage Europe’s innovation ecosystems
11 NOVEMBER 2020
Implementing the pro-active management of the EIC pathfinder for breakthrough technologies & innovations
(281.3 KB - HTML)


The Commission created an Expert Group to provide advice and assistance on the development of pro-active programme management in the EIC pilot phase (2018-2020), and for the launch of the fully-fledged EIC in Horizon Europe (2021 – 2027). The EIC Pathfinder supports advanced research on breakthrough technologies as a successor of the Future and Emerging Technologies programme. While it will be mainly “bottom up” without predefined topics, funding will also be provided for strategic technologies. The Pathfinder is complemented by Accelerator support for innovative startups and SMEs. Programme Managers are a novel feature of the EIC and are appointed to develop visions for breakthrough technologies and manage portfolios of projects to achieve these visions.

Interview with Lars Frølund - Chair of the expert group

More information

More about the Expert group

European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot


Publication date
11 November 2020
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation