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European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE)

With European Innovation Ecosystems the European Commission wishes to create more connected and efficient innovation ecosystems. The ambition is to support the scaling of companies and spur innovation to address important challenges in a responsible way.

What can be Funded?

The EU along with the rest of the world is facing several severe and fast changes when it comes to, among others, climate, digital transition, and geopolitics. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing unique health, societal, and economic challenges with an urgent need for action. The crisis has caused researchers, entrepreneurs, industry, public authorities and institutions, civil society, and people around the world to join forces in a common effort to develop solutions and secure post-pandemic stability.

The problems now facing the world community emphasise the importance and need for cooperation across expertise and disciplines. Only in this way can we find sustainable solutions to secure societal and economic restoration along with a responsible development with regard to climate.

With European Innovation Ecosystems the European Commission wishes to promote initiatives aimed at all key strategic focal areas of Horizon Europe and to bridge the so-called innovation gap. This is done through support to cooperation between excellent regional and local innovation ecosystems, support to emerging innovation ecosystems through coupling to existing networks, and support to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Main Fields of Programme

The programme has three sub-programmes:



Focus is on building interconnected, inclusive innovation ecosystems. The ecosystems will draw on the existing strengths of local, national, and European ecosystems and pull in new, less well-represented actors. The aim is to define and achieve collective ambitions towards challenges for the benefit of citizens and society.


Focus is on strengthening the capacity of innovation ecosystems for them to support existing and emerging innovators and businesses.


Focus is on supporting European Partnership for Innovative SMEs by helping innovative SMEs increase their research and development capacity and productivity, and thus supporting SMEs in their way to global value chains and new markets.

Open Opportunities under the Sub-Programme

Reference is made to the work programme for a review of the funding opportunities that are open under European Innovation Ecosystems in 2021.

Types of Projects Supported

Support is granted to the following types of projects:

  • Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs)
  • Research and Innovation Actions (RIAs)
  • Programme Co-fund Actions

As a general rule, a consortium must as a minimum consist of three different and independent legal entities, and funds are granted in the magnitude of EUR 0.3-5.0 million. In most CSA projects allocated funds will be in the form of lump sums.

The rules applying to the different calls and a more detailed description of the outcome of the projects are found in the work programme for European Innovation Ecosystems.

Who can Apply?

National and/or regional innovation environments in cooperation with the private sector, relevant stakeholders from the innovation ecosystems, including innovative SMEs and start-ups, as well as actors from the academic world, investors, foundations, clusters, associations, and civil society.

Requirements for Applicants

European Innovation Ecosystems cover a broad range of programmes and calls - each with its own rules on participation; Therefore, it is recommended to read the work programme in which requirements for applicants will be described under the relevant calls.

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last modified Nov 03, 2021