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European funding trends in 2020, with Winnovart

It is the start of a new decade for us all in general, and this partly applies to the grants-funding marketspace in Europe, too (funding cycles are actually a bit shorter than a decade).

2020 is the last year of the 2014-2020 EU funding cycle. While we start drawing conclusions, we need to get ready for the upcoming funding cycle (2021-2027).  There are always local differences between each Member State, but the private sector can expect to probably have in 2020 the last funding competitions for a while now (if any more available at all).  

EEA & Norway grants (2014-2021) at full speed. They had a relatively slow start and produced their first relevant competitions for the private sector in 2018, much later than the EU funding calls across Europe. This also means that they are still available and we are seeing currently a very active period in terms of call openings and competitions. Winnovart remains the most active (independent) promoter of this special and less known funding scheme in Europe and we will continue to be so until the end of the current cycle (at least!). 

European Commission’s new programmes indicate trends. We should all keep an eye on Horizon Europe (the successor of Horizon 2020) with an ambitious budget of €100 billion for research and innovation. We should also follow closely the EIC pilot programmes for funding and investment as they will be continued (one way or another) during the upcoming cycle and are probably a very good indication of the latest trends in this marketspace.  

Public-Private funding schemes in the UK and in Europe. Also called Investment Accelerator Pilots or Blended Funding schemes. This is the most interesting thing that has been happening in this marketspace for many years in Europe, promising to reshape its future. Traditional funding agencies are partnering with private investors (Private Equity/ Venture Capital) in order to jointly deliver 100% funded schemes to innovative projects and companies. The best of both worlds, with many advantages for all stakeholders involved, but also with a complex relationship between the funded companies – private investors – funding agencies. The model is very well piloted in the UK (in a complete form), while the EC is gradually introducing it too. We hope to see many more European agencies adopting this model. There is more to come from Winnovart on this topic during 2020. 

Reviewing the role of Fund Operators (aka Funding agencies, Programme Operators, Management authorities, etc.). We would like them to become more transparent, accountable and efficient in the way they operate grants-funding schemes (nothing but taxpayers’ money!). They need to improve the quality of their services for their customers (= the applicants/ beneficiaries of grants). In 2020 we will focus more on this group of stakeholders through special surveys and targeted independent audits.  

Learning to make the most of Grants Funding. Grants represent much more than simply applying for funding and receiving the approval or not. If properly managed, they can become the driver of ecosystems bringing together industrial companies, investors, technology suppliers, researchers and other stakeholders across Europe. At Winnovart, we want to be part of such ecosystems and we are helping to bridge the gap between their stakeholders.  Winnovart Explore is our platform for this.  

Our vision for grants-based funding management…by 2027 … hasn’t changed since last year 🙂 see hereWe believe in fast and easy access to funding, enabled by open, transparent and efficient Fund Operators who understand their role as “service providers”.  At Winnovart, we will continue to invest energy in engaging more closely with Fund Operators, to promote the feedback we receive from their “clients”, the applicants and beneficiaries of grants.  

Our presence in Western, Eastern and Northern Europe enables us to understand very well the grants-funding marketspace in Europe, as well as the gaps and differences between the regions. At Winnovart, our mission is to accelerate access to funding, while bridging the gap between the stakeholders of this marketspace.  

We look forward to an exciting 2020. 

Doru-Cristian Coretchi, Founder Winnovart