The European Commission ran a call for ideas between 16th February and 29th April 2016 to gather stakeholders' views on disruptive, market-creating innovation, on gaps in the current innovation support landscape and on the potential remit of a European Innovation Council (EIC). A total of 1022 replies were received.
40% of the respondents were affiliated with research organisations, 35% with businesses (predominantly SMEs but also several large companies), 11% with public bodies (innovation agencies, regional representations and governmental departments), 4% with representative organisations, 2% were financiers and 2% were private citizens. Respondents came from over 46 countries, with the majority from southern and western EU Member States.
Over 80% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that a lack of disruptive market creating innovation is an obstacle to growth and job creation in Europe. Over 75% agreed or strongly agreed that there are gaps in current EU support for innovation, 20% strongly disagreed or disagreed. Typically respondents argued that it remains difficult for SMEs to take advantage of the support offered due to the complexity and length of the application process.
Respondents were asked which issues a potential EIC could address. 'Filling in gaps' had the highest count, closely followed by 'simplification of access' and 'strategic advice'. A large number of respondents argued that there is a need for further simplification of application rules, reduction of administrative requirements and improvement in the navigation among the various support options. A number of respondents argued that call themes should not be pre-defined.
In order to fill the gaps in EU support, many stakeholders called for dedicated calls for disruptive technologies and improved access to risk financing. A suggestion to establish an 'EU-wide venture capital fund' was mentioned several times, as well as the idea of combining grants and loans. Respondents also argued for the need to strengthen links between national and EU programmes.
The European Commission will take this input into account in its upcoming policy development. First reforms could be implemented in the Horizon 2020 Work Programmes for 2018-2020, in order to maximise the impact of the innovation activities funded in this period. Other elements will be considered in the preparation of the next Framework Programme.