The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected society and all industries, causing major personal and profesional impacts beyond health consequences on sicety, and creating market locks and profound difficulties in all economic sectors. However, some possitive things have also been noticed and reinforced due to this crisis, including the increased interest in research and development (R&D) projects, among both citizens and industries.

This COVID-19 global crisis has made society aware of the importance of scientific and technological innovations to face the uncertain future. In fact, society has become interested in this new knowledge and its potential, including fields such as digitalization, global communication, virology, biotecnology, environmental sciences, etc. And even more important, citizens have become more active and engaged with several European Citizens’ Initiatives, promoted by the European Commision (EC).

In parallel, COVID-19 has accelerated innovation in key industries, such as the ICT services and the health-related companies, which have experience a speed growing since the outbreak. As a great life-changing example, the discovery, development, testing and registration of a new vaccine in less than a year has opened a promising route for new developments, which has not gone unnoticed by other sectors, nor by the European Commision.

R&D in EU in the second-year of an unprecedent pandemic

2021 was a record year for deep-tech-related projects in Europe (high-tech innovation in engineering projects), doubling the funds obtained in the previous years and raising 20,000 million €[1]. 21.5% of this investment was early-stage ideas and companies, and mainly in areas such as gaming, digital health and food technology.

Among the awarded proposals in 2021, the EC’s contribution to private for-profit enterprises (40.1%) nearly matched the funding of research and education organisations (48%), exemplifying the EU’s growing support for companies to carry out research and development actions within their organizations.

A summary of proposals presented and awarded in 2021 calls is shown below[2]:

It is worth mentioning that 11% of 2021 funding was considered Planet Positive, being clean energy, sustainability and climate action the biggest areas of growth2.

For more information on the areas of innovation for funding at the European Union, you can read our recent article for the World Creativity and Innovation Day.

[1] Report on State of European Tech, 2021; [2] Horizon Dashboard webpage

EC funds for recovery and resilience of EU enterprises

Companies that innovate have proven to be more resilient in the face of an ecomic/health crisis[3]. Therefore, the European Commision has set up numerous funding resources to boost the innovation and enhance the recovery in all sectors for the next 7 years. First, the new research and innovation funding programme for 2021-2027 (Horizon Europe) has increased the budget by almost 25% respect the previous H2020 programe, reaching 96,899 million €. These funds included 5,400 million € NextGenerationEU resources, which have been extended to 806,900 million € for:

  • recovery from COVID crisis
  • turning EU into the first equal, digital, climate-neutral, resilient and healthier continent by 2050 thanks to innovative approaches.

In addtion, companies that invest in R&D are more likely to persist in difficult conditions, or even grow, as innovative approaches give better prospects for expanding into new markets during disruptions. Therefore, special efforts to boost innovation in companies are made by the EC. For example, 70% of the European Innovation Council (EIC) budget will be allocated to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative processes and products.

[3] S. Roper & J. Turner, 2020, Int. Small Bus. J., 38, 6: 504-514

HOW can your organization access this innovation funding? Ask CONTACTICA

Founded in 2009, CONTACTICA is a private Innovation Consulting Company that grows by guiding and leading innovation projects with know-how and capacities applied to new product development

CONTACTICA has a wide range of services for Research and Development projects: we accompany you throughout the entire proposal submission process, from the concept validation of the project, the shape of the consortium, to the proposal writing and the support in the submission process.

In addition, CONTACTICA offers project management, communication and dissemination and sustainability service for R&D projects, optimizing the project impact.

CONTACTICA has extensive experience in the preparation and submission of collaborative European proposals in diverse Research and Development (R&D) fields, including agri-food, biotechnology, environment and eco-innovation, health, energy, and materials. and has already obtained funding for more than 30 national and European projects (check our funded projects here).

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