The European Commission is awarding €30.5 million to 15 innovative projects [pdf ] involving 68 partners in 16 countries to help speed up their access to the market. Under the third round of the Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) scheme, run under the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.
The projects include designing intelligent sensor enabled eyewear, developing an immunity-based test for early diagnosis of Lyme disease, creating a laser to treat glaucoma, producing an intelligent inspection system to better manage power line cables and making eco-friendly food packaging that have outstanding barrier properties.
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “Through Horizon 2020, we want to give innovative businesses the support they need to fast-track their innovations to market. These latest results bring the total investment to nearly €100 million in fast-access EU funding for close-to-the-market innovation activities.”
The FTI scheme was launched in January 2015. The third round of the scheme attracted a total of 403 project proposals involving 1700 participants by its cut-off date of 1 December 2015. This brings the total of proposals received since the launch of the programme to 903, of which 46 received more than €98.7 million in funding in total. Almost half the project participants (46%) are SMEs.
The FTI is a fully bottom up measure promoting innovation activities at the close-to market stage. It supports mature innovative concepts that have already been tested. Supported activities include systems validation in real working conditions, testing, piloting, validation of business models and standard setting and pre-normative research.
The scheme runs during 2015-2016 as a pilot initiative under Horizon 2020, with a budget of €200 million. The scheme is open to all kinds of participants and supports any topic under the “Societal Challenges” and the specific objective “Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEITs)”. This thematic openness, combined with accessibility to all kinds of innovation entities, will nurture trans-disciplinary and cross-sector cooperation for growth through innovation.
The pilot is implemented through one common and continuously open call. Proposals can be submitted at any time. The next cut-off dates for applications are 15 March, 1 June and 25 October 2016.