East Netherlands


EIC Accelerator selects 78 European startups – including 11 from the Netherlands 

Food and Health companies from the East Netherlands seize on EU opportunities

The European Commission announced at the end of last year that it has selected 78 innovative companies from 17 countries for the latest EIC Accelerator call of 2022. Eleven of those companies are from the Netherlands, making our country the second most awarded country after Germany. Among those companies are also some companies from the eastern Netherlands

The EIC (European Innovation Council) was established in 2021 to commercialize break-through innovations by SMEs in Europe. To do so, the EIC Accelerator provides funding in the form of grants and/or stocks.

Protinhi Therapeutics is one of the companies that succeeded in raising funding through the EIC Accelerator. The Nijmegen-based company develops drugs to combat viruses such as Zika and Dengue. Around four hundred million people worldwide fall ill with the Dengue virus every year. Protinhi’s drugs have an inhibitory effect on the viruses, preventing them from reproducing and fighting the diseases.

Automation in greenhouse horticulture

This round of EIC awards also marked a great milestone for Wageningen-based Saia Agrobotics, which is developing robotization of food production in greenhouse horticulture. Worldwide demand for healthy, fresh and sustainably produced food will increase with approximately 30 to 50 percent in the coming decades, according to recent research. One bottleneck is the availability of labor and know-how to keep these greenhouses operational. Saia Agrobotics expects to have found part of the solution with a picking robot. Unique to its technology is that the robot does not enter the greenhouse, but the plant moves towards the robot. This allows the robot to have visibility and access to everything, so each single plant can be harvested and maintained quickly. Late last year, Saia announced the closing of a new round of financing.

EIC funding opportunities in 2023

Continuing in 2023, the EIC proposes funding opportunities for breakthrough innovations to scale up and create new markets. Out of that, €1.13 billion is earmarked for EIC Accelerator funding, of which €525 million is dedicated to next-generation technologies in strategic areas for Europe, including:

  • Biomarkers for cancer
  • Decontamination for pandemic management
  • Energy storage
  • Quantum or semiconductor components
  • Resilient agriculture
  • Space technologies and services.

Since its launch in March 2021, more than 6,500 start-ups and SMEs have sent in their ideas of which more than 3,330 complete applications have been submitted. The next closing dates for full applications are March 22, 2023, June 7, 2023 and October 4, 2023.

The ThinkEast Netherlands partnership works on positioning the region of East Netherlands in Europe. “By acting together, we can better highlight the strengths of our region, for example in the field of Health and Food. In this way we increase the chances of obtaining resources, funds and programs such as REACT, i3, INTERREG and Horizon. And we can connect SMEs with the opportunities offered by the European Union,” said Karolien de Bruine, EU Liaison for Gelderland and Overijssel at Oost NL. Want to know more about the opportunities offered by the EIC Accelerator, for example about the March 22 call? Then contact Oost NL.


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