Welcome to the very first IPLUSF EU blog-post! It covers useful and practical information about one of the sexiest European funding instrument: the Fast Track to Innovation (or simply FTI) programme. A novelty in the framework of other EU funding programmes that are either too low TRL and/or scientific (such as H2020 research actions or FET) or programs tailored for specific participants, such as the SME instrument or the Marie Curie actions.

The FTI objective is simply to boost close-to-market innovative concepts (products and/or services), providing grants up to 3M€. The disruption, industrial and the innovation components are key, additionally to being ideas creating or revolutionizing markets at European level. 

The instrument funding covers close-to-market innovation tasks such as piloting, test-beds, systems validation in real-world working conditions, validation of business models, pre-normative research, standards setting etc, aiming to reduce the time to market. FTI is understood as the very final push before market entry to those ideas that would otherwise not bridge that gap between their status and a successful commercialization. In addition to the funding itself, FTI increases chances for market success in terms of the visibility provided by the EU institutions and the networking opportunities.

FTI funding is mostly applied by industry-intensive consortiums, however it is also open for SMEs, universities, public and research entities, if they make sense within the project story-telling. In fact, one of the following conditions must be complied:

  • at least 60% of the overall budget to consortium partner(s) from industry;
  • a minimum of 2 industry partners out of a consortium of 3 or 4;
  • or a minimum of 3 industry partners out of a consortium of 5;

Projects duration is typically between 2 and 3 years. In this time, the consortium should be able to commercialize its innovative product or service in the market. Involving partners established in 3 EU countries that are legally independent is also mandatory, like most of EU funding programmes.

The FTI is implemented as call for proposals running in 2018-2020 with a total budget of €300 million (€100 million per year). The call will be continuously open until 2020. There are three cut-off dates each year: October, February and March. Proposals are evaluated and ranked and funding decisions taken after, in a process lasting 60 days on average. The program is competitive, but

Now that the instructions are clear: are you willing to participate in the FTI? Does it matches your needs? Do you need some support in order to maximise the funding possibilities?

From IPLUSF we are ready and willing to support you, given our direct link with several industrial companies and our specific expertise in the FTI calls.