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Pact for Skills
Call for proposalsOpen

Mutual learning and support scheme for national and regional innovation programmes

The objective of this tender is to foster actions for the creation of innovation ecosystems with educational and research institutions


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




This action aims to assist Member States and Associated Countries to improve or create national and regional funding programmes that could qualify for certification under the Plug-in scheme of the EIC Accelerator

Activities/actions supported

Actions supported are:

  • Engagement of business experts into the implementation of networking activities and building innovation ecosystem around the university/research institution;
  • Engagement of students, graduates, researchers and workforce from various disciplines and departments into the innovation ecosystem, with a focus on networking and building networks around educational and research institutions as centres of gravity, and engaging in companies’ structures and business processes;
  • Engagement of students and researchers in start-ups from both their immediate local environment and beyond (regional, national, transnational) working with various actors from the innovation ecosystem to experience what starting and running a venture entails, such as raising funds, pitching events, creating, editing, and adapting business models in the creation process from idea to market, etc.;
  • Creation of synergies between students, graduates, researchers, innovators, education institutes, research performing organisations, and business partners, locally, at EU level, and globally targeting the creation of networks and communities of practices in the field of deep tech to stimulate the market uptake of results and new technologies, as well as their co-creation.

Anticipated outcomes

Projects results are expected to contribute to at least four (4) of the following expected outcomes:

  • Reduced fragmentation of innovation ecosystems and national/regional start-up support schemes;
  • Increased cooperation, learning, and exchange of knowledge between national and regional innovation support public authorities and agencies in order to ensure that their innovation funding schemes respond to the requirements of the Plug-in certification for step 2 of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator;
  • Improved ongoing and/or set up of new national and regional innovation funding programmes whose criteria are fit to pass the certification for the Plug-in scheme;
  • The use, requirements, and access to the Plug-in scheme are well communicated to the innovation ecosystem stakeholders, particularly start-ups and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs);
  • A more homogeneous, equal, and aligned approach in the evaluation of projects under national and regional support schemes; Enhanced cooperation among national and regional public authorities and agencies and SMEs and start-ups, particularly between innovation 'leaders'/'strong' innovators and 'moderate'/'emerging' innovator countries;
  • Stable pipeline of high-quality projects to the EIC Accelerator Step 2.

Institution providing the funding

European Commission

Size of funding

EUR 1.000.000


Overview of eligibility criteria

This action requires the participation of at least three (3) independent legal entities, established in three (3) different Member States or Horizon Europe Associated Countries, 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 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

Award criteria include:

  • Excellence
  • Impact
  • Quality and efficiency of the implementation


Application procedures

Calls may be subject to either a single-stage submission procedure or a two-stage submission procedure. The evaluation procedure may be organised in one (standard) or several steps. In the first stage of a two-stage submission, applicants will be requested to submit only an outline application (which will be evaluated against only two award criteria: ‘Excellence’ and ‘Impact’). Successful applicants will be invited to submit a full application for the second stage (which will be evaluated against the full set of award criteria).

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
  • Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project

Application support available

For further information, please check the text of the call (link below). Furthermore, you can consult the Online Manual:

Useful links

Link to funding opportunity

Link to the programme for more info