The Innovation Fund aims to fund innovative flagship and first-of-a-kind projects that are not yet bankable, but past the research stage. 


Table 1: Illustrative examples of potential projects. Source: European Commission (2019). Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) …/… of 26.02.2019 supplementing Directive 2003/87/EC of the European  Parliament and of the Council with regard to the operation of the Innovation Fund.

The Innovation Fund will focus on highly innovative technologies and big flagship projects with European added value that can bring about significant emission reductions.


The Innovation Fund aims to finance a varied project portfolio achieving an optimal balance of innovative technologies in all eligible sectors and across the Member States.

The projects need to be sufficiently mature from:

  • a technical perspective via a feasibility study

  • an economic perspective via a business model

  • a legal perspective

The Innovation Fund will also support cross-cutting projects on innovative low-carbon solutions that lead to emission reductions in multiple sectors, for example, through industrial symbiosis or business model innovation.


[Innovation Fund infographic]
  • The Innovation Fund will support up to 60% of the costs linked to innovation. 

  • The subsidies may be complemented by any other funding (e.g. national), but more than 100% of overall funding is not allowed.

  • The grants will be disbursed flexibly based on project financing needs, considering the milestones achieved during the project lifetime.

  • Up to 40% of the grants can be given based on pre-defined milestones before the project is fully up and running.

  • 40% of the total funding may be kept as soon as a financial close has been achieved, even if the project's performance doesn't meet the targets. The rest of the 60% must be paid back if the performance (CO2 reduction) is not as promised on a pro-rata basis.


The applicant submitting an expression of interest will be assessed on:

  • GHG emissions avoidance;

  • Degree of innovation;

  • Project maturity;

  • Scalability;

  • Cost-effectiveness.

Projects that have not yet reached the required maturity may be eligible for the EU’s Project Development Assistance (PDA).


Innovation Fund


Objective: Build and operate large-scale industrial assets with breakthrough technologies

Applicants: Single entity, i.e. national consortia is not required

Selection criteria: Technical, business and financial availability

Disbursement of the grant: Lump-sum payments upon milestones and performance (verified GHG emission avoidance)

Calls for the fund: Contents and conditions of calls can be adjusted annually

Horizon 2020


Objective: Research programme

Applicants: At least three legal entities from at least three member states

Selection criteria: Focus on research

Disbursement of the grant: Upon final report and approval of the eligible cost

Calls for the fund: Seven-year work programme


An application for the Innovation Fund is a lengthy and intensive process that requires expertise regarding the rules laid down by the European Commission. To support the project partners in this, CLERENS offers expertise in EU Affairs and project management to ensure a swift application that complies with all the rules laid down by the European Commission.

To get more information about CLERENS, visit our website.

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