The Innovation Fund is one of the world's largest funding programmes for the demonstration and commercialisation of highly innovative low-carbon technologies.
What is the European Commission’s Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund supports highly innovative technologies and big flagship projects with European added value that can bring about significant emission reductions. The aim of the Fund is to share the risk of innovation with project promoters, to help with the demonstration of first-of-a-kind highly innovative projects.
With an approximate value of €38 billion until 2030, the Innovation Fund aims to:
- Create the right financial incentives for companies and public bodies to invest now in the next generation of low-carbon technologies
- Give EU companies a first-mover advantage to become global technology leaders
- Help businesses and industry to invest in clean energy and boost economic growth
- Create and future-proof jobs
- Reinforce European technological leadership on a global scale.
The Innovation Fund supports highly innovative and flagship projects across the following different priorities:
- Energy-intensive industries
- Energy storage
- Carbon capture and utilisation
- Carbon capture and storage
- Renewable energy generation
- Cross cutting
The third large-scale call for projects (with a capital expenditure above €7.5 million) was launched by the EU Commission in November 2022 and closed on March 16th, 2023. It featured a budget of €3 billion for 4 topics, with a special focus on the REPowerEU priorities:
- General decarbonization (€1 billion)
- Innovation electrification in industry and hydrogen (€1 billion)
- Clean tech manufacturing (€0.7 billion)
- Mid-sized pilots (€0.3 billion)
For more details on the application process, including relevant documentation, please visit the European Commission website.
Four calls have taken place to date. Two large-scale, which awarded €1.1 billion and €1.8 billion in grants to 7 and 17 projects respectively. Two small-scale (for projects with a total capital cost under €7.5 million) also took place, with the the second call closing in August 2022. Award of grants will be announced in Q2 2023. The third call for small-scale projects is expected to be announced in spring 2023.
What can be funded?
The Innovation Fund is designed to assist highly innovative projects focused on creating low-carbon solutions that lead to significant emission reductions in multiple sectors.
Projects need to be sufficiently mature in terms of planning, business model, and financial and legal structure in order to be funded. They will be selected based on the following criteria:
- Effectiveness of greenhouse gas emissions avoidance
- Degree of innovation
- Project viability and maturity
- Cost efficiency (cost per unit of performance)
The selection criteria are weighted according to their relative importance. The final ranking of projects will be established based on comparing the scores across and within different sectors. The calls for proposals set the detailed scoring and ranking methodology, as well as possible additional criteria for geographical and sectoral balance. The document detailing the ongoing call is available here.
Further information about the Innovation fund can be found on the European Commission website: