Who should apply to FTI, the Fast Track to Innovation?
Are you looking for partners that can help you with a fast go-to-market of an industry-driven, innovative concept that has strong potential to make your company grow and scale-up?
Do you see co-creation or open innovation as ways to advance your innovation cycle and enter the market within three years?
Are you looking for substantial funding to test, demonstrate and validate your innovation with users before full commercial roll-out, potentially via a spin-off company or a joint venture?
Then FTI is the scheme for you.
Innovation is fostered when new ideas can emerge and easily translate into socio-economic value, shaping new markets and laying the foundations of a stronger, high-tech industrial base for Europe.
Working together, partners with complementary backgrounds, knowledge and skills, in both new and established value-chains, can turn ideas into world-beating products, processes and services that tackle societal challenges.
FTI accelerates the market uptake of ground-breaking innovations by providing funding in an open, accessible scheme that nurtures ideas from consortia of innovators of all types and sizes from across Europe.
Participation by industry — defined as private-for-profit organisations — is mandatory; industry is best-placed to ensure the due commercial exploitation of the innovation developed; in addition, company growth and development in order to strengthen Europe's industrial leadership are explicitly pursued with FTI support.
Principles and funding of FTI
FTI supports actions undertaking innovation from the demonstration stage through to market uptake, including activities such as piloting, test-beds, systems validation in real-world working conditions, validation of business models, pre-normative research, and standard-setting.
The maximum EU contribution per action is €3 million (funding rate: 70% for for-profit entities; 100% for not-for-profit entities).
FTI targets relatively mature, ground-breaking new technologies, concepts, processes and business models that need final development to be able to shape a new market and achieve wider deployment.
If your proposal involves technological innovation, your consortium should declare that the technology or the technologies concerned are at least at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6. The intention will be to bring the TRL up to 8 for technological innovations and to an analogous level of maturity for non-technological innovations during the lifetime of the FTI action. TRLs are described in General Annex G of the work programme.
FTI actions are encouraged to be interdisciplinary, cutting across different sector and technologies. Actions supporting innovative concepts that have the potential to disrupt or to create new markets are particularly welcome.
In your proposal, you should:
- Specify the intended outcome and describe key performance indicators and success criteria.
- Make reference to and incorporate a business plan clearly describing the market potential, business opportunities for participants, measures to enhance the probability of eventual commercial take-up, and a credible commercialisation strategy that identifies next steps and specifies other actors to be involved.
- Pay particular attention to IP protection and ownership and to the possibility of commercial exploitation (often known as 'freedom to operate').
- Specify the expected impact in terms of competitiveness and growth of the business partners in the consortium, measured in terms of turnover and job creation.
- Clearly describe the expected impact in both qualitative and quantitative terms, with factors such as time sensitivity and international competitiveness considered in the light of the technology field, innovation area and industry sectors concerned.
The time to initial market take-up should be no more than 3 years from the start of your FTI action.
In very well-justified cases linked to the specific characteristics of a particular innovation field or industry sector, the time to initial market take-up could be longer.
Possible impacts on sustainability or climate change, in particular, or on other cross-cutting objectives of Horizon 2020, must be highlighted.
Participation from industry in your consortium is mandatory. Universities and research and technology organisations can also participate. Actors with an important role in commercialisation are encouraged to take part, such as cluster organisations, end-users, industry associations, incubators, investors, and the public sector. Including start-ups with ground-breaking ideas that could create new markets is encouraged.