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Pact for Skills
Call for proposalsOpen

Expanding Academia-Enterprise Collaborations - Destination: CONNECT - Interconnected Innovation Ecosystems (2023/24)

Proposals should set out a credible pathway to strengthening robust interconnected innovation ecosystems and creating a favourable environment to promote the scalability potential of businesses, including in the deep tech sector.


Publication date
29 September 2023
Opening date
Deadline model
Deadline date
19 September 2024, 17:00 (CEST)
Level of funding
  • EU level




Proposals for topics under this destination should set out a credible pathway to strengthening robust interconnected innovation ecosystems and creating a favourable environment to promote the scalability potential of businesses, including in the deep tech sector.

Activities/actions supported

Actions under this destination should promote the creation of links:

  • Between all key innovation stakeholders;
  • Among ‘innovation leaders’ and ‘strong innovators’ with ‘moderate’ and ‘emerging innovators’;
  • With networks such as National Contact Points, Partnerships for Regional Innovatio, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), and European Innovation Council (EIC) communities, the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), clusters and Euroclusters, European university alliances, Missions, pan-European platforms such as Startup Europe, public and private regional or local innovation actors, in particular incubators and innovation hubs

Anticipated outcomes

Proposal are anticipated to have the following impacts:

  • Interconnected, inclusive, and more efficient innovation ecosystems across the EU that draw on the existing strengths of European, national, regional, and local ecosystems and engage new, less well-represented stakeholders and less advanced innovation territories, including rural areas, to set, undertake, and achieve collective ambitions tackling challenges for the benefit of society, including green, digital, and social transitions, and advancing the European Research Area and the New European Innovation Agenda;
  • Enhance cross-border network connectivity and inter-regional collaboration of regional innovation valleys by reinforcing their capacity to create, reshore, and renew European value chains towards the sustainable green and digital transition and the EU's open strategic autonomy in EU countries and/or regions;
  • Strengthen and expand cooperation between innovation ecosystems worldwide;
  • Foster more inclusive and gender equal innovation ecosystems;
  • Reducing territorial inequalities in access to innovation support.

Institution providing the funding

European Commission

Size of funding

around €100,000 (around 10 available grants)



Overview of eligibility criteria

Basic eligibility conditions are described in Annex B of the Work Programme General Annexes.

The following additional eligibility criteria apply:

  • This action requires the participation of at least three (3) independent legal entities, of which at least one (1) is established in a 'moderate' or 'emerging' innovator region and at least one (1) in a 'strong' or 'innovation leader' innovator region.

The Regional Innovation Scoreboard is taken as a reference, and in the case of entities representing national authorities, the European Innovation Scoreboard. The applicants must use as a reference the latest version of the documents mentioned above at the time of the call closure. Associated Countries which are not included in the European Innovation Scoreboard and are ranked below 25 on the latest Global Innovation Index are considered as ‘moderate’ or ‘emerging' innovators. In cases of Associated Countries not included in any of the previously mentioned references, the participation rank of the country in the Horizon Europe programme (H2020 country profile) will be taken as a reference and countries ranked below the average will be considered as ‘moderate’ or ‘emerging' innovators.

The consortium must include at least one (1) educational institution or research organisation and at least one (1) representative of the private sector (for-profit entity).

Overview of award criteria

The award criteria are the following:

  • Excellence (5 points)
  • Impact (5 points)
  • Quality and efficiency of the implementation (5 points)

Maximum points: 15 points. Overall threshold: 10 points.



Application procedures

Applications must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section).

Application support available

For further help, please refer to the Online Manual on the Funding & Tenders Portal, as well as the Horizon Europe Programme Guide, which contains the detailed guidance to the structure, budget and political priorities of Horizon Europe.


Useful links

Link to funding opportunity

Link to the programme for more info