One of the novelties of Horizon 2020 is the full-scale pilot Fast Track to Innovation (FTI), instrument aiming to speed up the time from idea to market and to increase the participation of industry, SMEs and first time applicants.

The Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) is now part of the European Innovation Council pilot (EIC pilot). This was launched on 27th October 2017 as part of the Horizon 2020 Work programme 2018-2020, when the SME Instrument, Fast Track to Innovation (FTI), Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Open and Horizon Prizes, were brought under the EIC pilot umbrella, to provide a 'one stop shop' for funding of innovators/innovations in the EU. More info about this change here.

Proposals for funding must be submitted by consortia comprising between three and five legal entities established in at least three different EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020. Actions are to be ‘business-driven’ because they are intended to give breakthrough innovation ideas the last push before shaking up the market. Substantial industry involvement in FTI actions is mandatory to ensure quick market take-up (‘quick’ meaning within a three-year period after the start of the FTI-action). This industry involvement implies:

  • either the allocation of at least 60% of the budget to industry participants in the consortium,

  • or the presence of a minimum number of two industry participants in a consortium of three

  • or four partners, or of three industry participants in a consortium of five partners.


Its main features are:

  • funding rate of 70 %,

  • bottom-up driven logic,

  • continuously open calls with three cut-off dates per year,

  • time to grant not exceeding 6 months,

  • the maximum EU contribution per action amounts to EUR 3 million.


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