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.

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