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Read the latest news from the nanomedicine world.

Dear ETPN members, dear colleagues of the European community of Nanomedicine, the recent official launch of the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the publication of its Work Programme 2021 opens a new and unprecedented set of opportunities for you to get support in developing and scaling-up your breakthrough health technologies and disruptive innovations in the global framework of Horizon Europe. In this article, we will provide you with key information to prepare your application for the first EIC Open calls and EIC Strategic Challenges in 2021, in which nanotechnologies, nanomedicine and other Advanced technologies for health are highly relevant. The ETPN will indeed support its member institutions and the European community of Nanomedicine in general to play an active role in the EIC, Europe’s most ambitious innovation initiative!

DISCLAIMER: the only purpose of this article is to help the European community of stakeholders developing Nanomedicine innovations to actively participate in the new EIC initiatives. Under no circumstances should it be considered as an official source of information. Please always refer to the official documents from the European Commission when preparing your applications.

What is the EIC and what new features will it bring?

After its pilot phase during the last strategic period of Horizon2020, the full deployment of the European Innovation Council is now happening as the 3rd Pillar of  the new Work Programme Horizon Europe.

The EIC aims at identifying and supporting breakthrough technologies and game changing innovations with the potential to scale up internationally and become market leaders. It supports all stages of innovation from R&D on the scientific underpinnings of breakthrough technologies, to validation and demonstration of breakthrough technologies and innovations to meet real world needs, to the development and scaling up of start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In this context the EIC is also an initiative contributing to the EU technology sovereignty.

A change of paradigm in  the E.C. support to innovation.

This comprehensive set of services will bring the level of funding from the European Commission to innovation projects to an unprecedented level. Just as one concrete example, for the first time, selected innovative SMEs will now be offered with a mix of grant plus equity by the EIC. This is a major change of paradigm that the ETPN is highly inn line with, and which is totally in line  with the spirit of the Nanomedicine Translation Hub  that we have set up since 2015, including the HealthTech TAB, our custom mentoring service for healthtech innovators.

Three main EIC instruments along your pathway to the market

The EIC will bring financial support through three main instruments along the value chain of innovation, namely:

All EIC funded projects and companies, as well as selected applicants, have access to a range of EIC Business Acceleration Services providing access to leading expertise, corporates, investors and ecosystem actors. The EIC also provides additional activities such as the “EIC Prizes“.

The EIC work program 2021 is available!

EIC Work Programme 2021You may download the EIC Work Programme 2021 by clicking on this link.

It is the legal document which sets out how the EIC will allocate its funding for the corresponding year. It is prepared following the advice of the EIC pilot Advisory Board and adopted by the European Commission. It will give you access to a full description of all EIC opportunities of support :

  • Open funding
  • Strategic challenges
  • EIC Prizes
  • EIC Community and Business Acceleration Services


What are the opportunities for HealthTech and Nanomedicine within the EIC?

We will try in this section to summarize the main options to get support from the EIC if you develop breakthrough applications of nanotechnologies for health, or any related Advanced HealthTech. Please always refer to the E.C. official documents : there are many other options to get help and funding for translation of your concept or invention in Nanomedicine into a successful business, born and grown in Europe, helping to change the life of millions of citizens and patients.

1) EIC Open Funding

a) Apply for the EIC Pathfinder Open before May 19!

  • FUNDING SCHEME: bottom-up approach with no predefined topics
  • GRANT : up to 3M€/ project with a rate of 100% of eligible costs (Total budget: 168M€)
  • CONSORTIA: min. 3 partners from 3 different MS/AC (of which at least 1 partner in a MS).
  • LENGTH OF PROPOSAL: 17 pages max. for Section 1-3 in part B
  • PROPOSAL TEMPLATE: available by clicking here.
  • DEADLINE: May, 19, 2021 at 5PM (CET) by CLICKING HERE.

A short presentation of the EIC Pathfinder has been given during the recent EIC Applicant’s day, you may download it by clicking here. For more details, see the EIC Work Programme 2021.

You should apply to this call if you are looking for support from EIC Pathfinder Open to realise an ambitious vision for radically new technology, with potential to create new markets and/or to address global challenges. EIC Pathfinder Open supports early stage development of such future technologies (e.g. various activities at low Technology Readiness Levels 1-4), based on high-risk/high-gain science-towards-technology breakthrough research (including ‘deep-tech’). This research must provide the foundations of the technology you are envisioning.

2) EIC Strategic challenges

a) Get ready to answer the EIC Pathfinder Challenges from June 2021!

  • FUNDING SCHEME: top-down challenge-driven calls for tackling specific technology breakthroughs by portfolios of projects on 5 predefined topics (see after)
  • GRANT : up to 4M€/ project with a rate of 100% of eligible costs (Total budget: 132M€)
  • APPLICANTS: 1. Single legal entities in a MS/AC (conditions apply) 2. Consortia: – If 2 partners: from different MS/AC, otherwise – Min. 3 partners from 3 different MS/AC (of which at least 1 partner in a MS)
  • LENGTH OF PROPOSAL: 25-page proposal for Section 1-3 in part B
  • APPLICATION: June 15 – October 27, 2021 at 5PM (CET) by CLICKING HERE.

Nanomedicine is notably highly relevant for 3 out of 5 of the selected EIC Pathfinder Challenges:

CHALLENGE #2 “Tools to measure & stimulate activity in brain tissue”: to develop novel neurotechnologies to diagnose or treat brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerve-related disorders and which can be rapidly accepted by clinicians and patients.

CHALLENGE #3 “Emerging Technologies in Cell & Gene Therapy“: to advance the domain of the Cell and Gene therapy (CGT) by funding breakthrough projects that propose novel concept-based technological solutions or technological platforms far beyond the current state-of-the-art with aim to tackling current bottlenecks from discovery to the manufacturing step towards clinical grade and thus, reinforce critical components of the European cell and gene therapy innovation-driven community.

CHALLENGE #5 “Engineered living materials“: to position strategically Europe at the forefront of the newly emerging Engineered living materials (ELMs) field and to overcome the technological challenges to harness the engineering potential of nature for the production of living materials by supporting the development of new technologies and the nascent community in this field.

b) EIC Transition Challenge – Medical Technology and Devices: from Lab to Patient

Proposals submitted to this Transition challenge call should aim to:

  • perform the necessary R&D to advance from an existing proof-of-principle technology to a mature version ready to initiate clinical evaluation.
  • develop an exploitation strategy, qualitatively and quantitatively outlining the proposed path to patient and describing an investable proposition.

Proposals submitted to this call can target any technology addressing important health needs in the direct clinical treatment and care of patients. A non-exhaustive list of illustrative examples includes: infectious and respiratory disease management, brain or nerve monitoring and stimulation technologies, high-tech endoscopes and smart catheters, surgical robots, perinatal support technology, radically portable dialysis, artificial pancreas for diabetes control, minimally invasive heart surgery, portable PET and MRI, drug delivery/eluting biomaterials, point-of-care non-invasive screening devices, etc.

The starting point in the project should be a preliminary prototype of a medical device or technology that demonstrates, in a lab or preclinical context, the essential features that underpin the disruptive nature of the innovation (TRL 3-4). The endpoint deliverable in the project should be a completely functional version of the technology suitable in its end-of-project state for clinical validation (TRL 5-6), supported by a sound and implementable exploitation strategy. For this Challenge, the EIC considers proposals with a requested EU contribution of up to a € 2.5 million and a duration of up to 3 years as appropriate.

c) EIC Accelerator Challenge – Strategic Digital and Health Technologies

As successor of the SME instrument, the EIC Accelerator is designed to scale-up your health technology by supporting your SME with a blended financial support; grants up to €2,5M & equity investment up to €15M.

You may find useful & synthetic information about the EIC Accelerator and associated Business Acceleration Services in this presentation given at the EIC Applicant’s day.

You should apply for this EIC Accelerator Challenge if you believe that your company has the potential to be a global leader in developing strategic technologies notably in one of the following areas: AI-driven tools for early diagnosis; point-of-care diagnostics; novel approaches in cell and gene therapy, in particular for cancer; development of novel biomarkers for clinical prognosis, patient stratification or monitoring purposes across a wide spectrum of disorders; bioprocessing 4.0 (digitalisation across stages of biodevelopment in biotech/biopharma industry); healthcare intelligence services; and e-health (including mobile health) solutions for healthcare systems, medical practice and Intensive Care Units.

How can the ETPN help you in applying for the calls of the EIC Work Programme 2021?

The ETPN Secretariat is available to bring custom support to ETPN member institutions in finding the right partners and shaping the best proposals to answer the many opportunities of the EIC Work Programme 2021. A dedicated brokerage space for Horizon Europe calls for proposals will be made available in the coming weeks, but please do not hesitate to contact us at any time at :

Would you be interested in becoming a new ETPN member, please contact us at your earliest convenience so that we may discuss together the many advantages to join the official think tank of Nanomedicine since 2015. Indeed, you are more than welcome on board!

Also we would like to invite you to join our upcoming annual event Nanomed Europe 2021 on Sept. 7-9, the best place to meet new potential partners for collaborations and build consortia for Horizon Europe.

On a larger perspective,  as you already know direct support to technologies for health is very unlikely to happen anymore per se in Horizon Europe. In this new organization and paradigm, you will not find the direct support to nanotechnologies for health anymore, as it was the case in the NMBP calls in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme. Instead, technology providers will mainly be asked to tackle complex medical challenges in a collaborative and solution-driven approach. The ETPN is in line and would like to help its member institutions to tackle this challenging evolution towards a more solution-driven than techno-push approach. Still, as you have noticed in this article, the EIC Work Programme 2021 offers many opportunities for direct support to nanomedicine breakthrough innovations.

Finally, ETPN has developed unique assets to foster cross-technology developments of Nanomedicine within Horizon Europe, notably by being a driving force of the establishment of the HealthTech4EU Alliance, which regroups for the first time seven European Technology Organizations with applications in healthcare, thanks to the pioneering outputs of the NOBEL Project.

We wish you a great success in applying  for the initiatives of the European Innovation Council from 2021, marking a new era of E.C. support to innovation & notably to health technologies !