The European Working Group of Innovation Consultants (EWGIC), of which FI Group is a member, has published fifteen
statements for the European Commission this week, regarding how to reduce the “subjective opinions side” of the selection process for future deeptech recruits for the EICA Accelerator.
This programme, created in 2014 under the Horizon Europe framework, has become the largest and most competitive public funding scheme for advanced technology startups in Europe.
EWGIC, we have seen success rates dramatically fall below 1%. In addition, more than 5,000 submissions are expected by October 2020, where only 30-40 companies will be accepted and funded under this scheme. Nowadays, not only does the success of this programme require high-quality effort, but it also depends on the subjective opinion of external evaluators.
To address these issues, the EIC Task Force has radically suggested a new evaluation process with a pre-selection stage (short application), a regular written stage (full application) and interview stage. The rating scale (of 15) is replaced by a simple ‘yes/no ‘ approach. Most importantly, only two applications will be allowed at each stage before a 24-month cooling-off period.
In general, these changes are likely to favour the best applicants, as they will reduce the “noise” of the application, so the EC will provide higher-quality assessments of a smaller set of full-stage applications, thus reducing the “luck factor” of the assessment process.
However, the approach will also place greater responsibility on a smaller number of evaluators who, as a result, will need to be carefully selected and trained in the context of 3 main challenges:
EWGIC believes that the suggested changes support a more transparent and fairer evaluation, but only when combined with clear and consistent evaluation criteria, along with a thorough review of the recruitment and training processes of the panel of experts.