22 November 2023

In a significant move towards achieving the ambitious goals set by the European Green Deal and the Net-Zero Industry Act, the EU is set to launch two new EU Innovation Fund calls for proposals on 23 November 2023. These calls aim to mobilize up to €4.8 billion to accelerate the deployment of innovative technologies, fostering sustainable practices and driving the transition towards a green economy. 

Hydrogen pilot auction: paving the way for sustainable energy solutions 

One notable feature of these calls is the hydrogen pilot auction, a groundbreaking initiative that aligns with the EU’s commitment to building a clean and sustainable energy future. This auction, closing on 8 February 2024 (estimated), introduces a novel financing mechanism under the Innovation Fund and is a crucial element of the EU Hydrogen Bank.

With a substantial budget of €800 million earmarked for project developers, the hydrogen pilot auction aims to catalyze advancements in hydrogen technologies, offering a key solution for decarbonizing various sectors. 

The EU Innovation Fund as a catalyst for transformative change 

In addition to the hydrogen pilot auction, the 2023 demonstration project calls are set to close on 9 April 2024 (estimated), providing a substantial budget of €4 billion. These calls focus on several key areas: 

1. Decarbonization

Addressing the imperative need to reduce carbon emissions across industries, the Innovation Fund invites proposals that showcase effective strategies for general decarbonization. 

2. Cleantech Manufacturing

Recognizing the pivotal role of manufacturing in shaping sustainable economies, this call encourages innovative projects that advance cleantech manufacturing processes. 

3. Maritime Sector

Acknowledging the environmental impact of the maritime industry, the Innovation Fund welcomes proposals aimed at fostering sustainable practices within this sector. 

4. Energy-Intensive Industries

To address the challenges faced by energy-intensive industries, the fund supports projects that pioneer transformative solutions for cleaner, more sustainable operations. 

Navigating the funding landscape  

For enterprises in Belgium, these calls present a unique opportunity to secure funding for their innovative projects that align with the goals of the European Green Deal. Leveraging the expertise and guidance of consulting partners like FI Group can significantly enhance the chances of a successful funding application. 

1. Initial assessment

FI Group begins by conducting a thorough assessment of your project to determine its eligibility and alignment with the specific criteria outlined in the Innovation Fund calls. 

2. Strategic planning

With a clear understanding of your project, FI Group assists in developing a comprehensive and strategic funding plan, ensuring that your proposal not only meets the requirements but stands out in a competitive landscape. 

3. Application preparation

FI Group supports in the meticulous preparation of your funding application, addressing key components such as project description, budgeting, and expected impact. 

4. Submission and follow-up

Once the application is ready, FI Group facilitates the submission process, ensuring that all necessary documentation is in order. Post-submission, FI Group continues to monitor the progress of your application, providing insights and support during the evaluation phase. 

5. Project implementation

Upon successful funding, FI Group offers ongoing assistance in project implementation, ensuring that your innovative initiatives unfold seamlessly and deliver the intended impact. 

Seizing innovation opportunities  

As the EU Innovation Fund calls for proposals open doors to transformative projects, enterprises in Belgium have a chance to lead in sustainability and innovation. By partnering with FI Group, businesses can navigate the intricacies of the funding landscape, increasing their chances of securing support for pioneering initiatives that contribute to a greener, more sustainable future. The time to act is now — let FI Group be your strategic partner in unlocking the potential of EU innovation funding for your enterprise. 

Yvette Poumpalova 

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