Innovation Fund 2 | Ewropa Consultancy

The Innovation Fund: Lessons from the First Large-Scale Call

Authors: Nicole Sciberras Debono & Bastien Debiève

Back in August 2020, we published an article on the launch the world’s largest funding programmes for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies – the European Innovation Fund. Since then, 311 applications were submitted for the large-scale call back in October 2020, where 117 of them met the necessary thresholds to be validated, and 70 passing to the second stage, the submission of which is this coming June. Ewropa is currently assisting one of these applicants.

The Innovation Fund will finance innovative low-carbon technologies and bring to the market industrial solutions to decarbonise Europe; it has an overall budget of 10 billion euros for the period between 2020 and 2030. It is dedicated for innovative technologies with the following technological sectors: renewable energy, hydrogen, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, carbon capture, and utilisation and storage of energy. With such projects, the European Commission expect to avoid the emission of 402 MtCO2.

On 28 April, the European Commission organised an online event to discuss both the large-scale calls and the small-scale calls launched in 2020 in order to provide an overview and some statistics of the applications received, as well as some ‘lessons learnt’ for future applicants to consider.

The selected projects cover all the above-mentioned sectors envisaged in the calls, where it was noticed that the greater part consisting of energy intensive industries and hydrogen. Many also offer solutions related to recycling and renewable energies (mostly solar and wind power), in particular through services or digital tools. A significant part of the projects come from Italy and Spain, where national ecosystems have participated in supporting actors in their application to the European fund.

The European Commission noted that applicants often sought the assistance of external advisers in the preparation of the dossier. In addition, the majority (60%) of applicants declared having participated in Commission webinars to get information about the application. A similar rate of respondents said that the documents to be provided as part of the application were not challenging; while some candidates wished to benefit from templates, the majority found that the instructions were clear.

Above all, the analysis of the applications showed that applications which did not pass on to the second stage mainly lost points under the project maturity criteria especially with regards to financial maturity where the Commission expects to see a properly formulated project risk prevention strategy with proper, detailed and complete budget.

The European Commission already released some information on the second call for large scale projects. It aims to create a faster evaluation process by opting for a one-stage application process as opposed to a two-stage process. It will likely be launched in October 2021 with a submission deadline of February 2022. The Commission also referred to Member States’ accessibility to additional fund through the Recovery and Resilience Facility.


Do you have a project in mind which encompasses renewable energy, hydrogen bio-mass, energy storage, or carbon capture, utilization and storage? This is the perfect time to see your project come to fruition. Having assisted applicants to reach the second stage, here at Ewropa we have ample experience with the Innovation Fund application process, and we would be an indispensable part of your team.

If you have a project, in excess of €7,500,000, to bring innovative green technology to the market, you might be eligible to apply in the first call for large-scale project applications whereas if your project likely costs less than €7,500,000, to bring innovative green technology to the market, you might be eligible to apply in the second call for small-scale projects.

If you would like more information on how you can access the Innovation Fund, please contact us on