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The EIC Accelerator evaluation process: A comprehensive guide

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator is a prestigious and highly competitive funding program designed to support cutting-edge innovations and help SMEs and startups scale up their businesses. Understanding the EIC Accelerator evaluation process is crucial for maximizing your chances of being awarded this grant. In this blog post, we'll walk you through the various stages of the evaluation process, provide insights into the key criteria, and share tips to help you succeed. 

1. Understanding the EIC Accelerator program 

The EIC Accelerator aims to identify and support high-risk, high-potential SMEs and startups developing groundbreaking innovations. These high-risk, high-potential innovations often involve significant uncertainty and substantial investment but promise exceptional returns and the potential to create new markets or revolutionize existing ones. With substantial funding and access to EIC Business Acceleration Services, successful applicants can significantly boost their market impact and growth. The EIC Business Acceleration Services provide a range of support, including coaching, mentoring, access to investors, and networking opportunities to help innovators scale up their businesses. 


EIC funding model

2. Evaluation of short proposals 

Once you submit your short proposal, it will be evaluated by four EIC expert evaluators whose expertise aligns with the technology and market application of your innovation. These evaluators will assess your proposal based on the following criteria: 

2.1. Evaluation elements: 


  • Vision and ambition to scale up. 

  • Novelty and breakthrough character of the innovation. 

  • Technology readiness level (TRL 5 or higher). 

  • Market and societal timing. 

EIC short proposal

  • Impact: 

  • Competitiveness and demand. 

  • Potential to develop new markets or transform existing ones. 

  • Broader societal, economic, environmental, or climate impacts.  Implementation: 

  • Team capability and motivation. 

  • Plan to acquire any missing critical competencies. 

2.2. Outcome: 

  • GO: If at least three of the four evaluators give a GO, your short proposal is successful, and you'll be invited to submit a full proposal. 

  • NO GO: If at least two evaluators give a NO GO, your proposal is unsuccessful, but you can resubmit with improvements. 

3. Evaluation of full proposals: Remote evaluation and interviews 

3.1. Remote evaluation: 

Your full proposal will be assessed by three new EIC expert evaluators. Each evaluator will independently score your proposal against the award criteria. 

3.1.1. Award criteria: 


  • Clear mission and vision. 

  • Novelty and breakthrough potential. 

  • Timing and technological feasibility. 

  • Robust Intellectual Property (IP) strategy.  Impact: 

  • Competitiveness and market potential. 

  • Well-defined commercialization strategy. 

  • Potential for market share acquisition and scale-up. 

  • Broader societal, economic, environmental, or climate impacts.  Implementation: 

  • Strong and capable team. 

  • Clear and detailed implementation plan. 

  • Effective risk mitigation strategies. 

EIC full proposal

3.1.2. Outcome: 
  • GO: If all three evaluators give a GO for all elements, your proposal advances to the interview stage. 

  • Consensus Meeting: If two evaluators give a GO for all elements, a consensus meeting will decide whether to invite you to the interview. 

  • NO GO: If two or more evaluators give a NO GO on any element, your proposal is rejected. 


3.2. Interview with EIC Jury: 

Successful full proposals are then presented to the EIC jury in an interview. The jury, having access to the remote evaluation results, will make the final funding recommendation: 

  • GO: Recommended for funding, potentially with adjustments to the grant amount or other components. 

  • NO GO: Not recommended for funding but may receive a Seal of Excellence to aid in securing alternative funding and support. 

4. Key tips for a successful application 

  • Research and preparation: Conduct thorough market research and understand your target audience's needs. 

  • An engaging story: Provide an interesting narrative that aligns with the EIC objectives, emphasizing your innovation's unique value. 

  • Strong documentation: Provide clear financial projections, endorsements, and support letters. 

  • Alignment with EU Priorities: Highlight how your innovation aligns with key EU priorities such as the European Green Deal, the Green Deal Industrial Plan, the Critical Raw Materials Act, and the European Chips Act. Emphasizing these alignments can demonstrate the broader impact and relevance of your project within the EU’s strategic framework​. 

  • Support for UN sustainable development goals: Show how your project contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those related to industry, innovation, and infrastructure (Goal 9), responsible consumption and production (Goal 12), and climate action (Goal 13). 

  • Feedback and iteration: Seek feedback from peers and mentors and iterate on your proposal to address weaknesses. 

  • Professional consultancy Help: Consider seeking professional consultancy help to refine your proposal. Experienced consultants can provide valuable insights, improve the quality of your application, and increase your chances of success. 


Securing funding from the EIC Accelerator is a challenging but rewarding process. By understanding the evaluation criteria and preparing a strong, well-documented proposal, you can enhance your chances of success. The expertise of NETO Innovation in navigating the EIC Accelerator process can provide you an advantage to stand out among the competition. 


For personalized guidance and support with your EIC Accelerator application, contact NETO Innovation today. Together, we can turn your groundbreaking ideas into reality. 


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