Funding research & innovation
Over the past 10 years, the EU has invested over €375m in ocean energy research, development and innovation (RD&I), through a multitude of funding programmes.
Ocean Energy Europe ensures that European funds address the needs and are adequately designed for the sector.
OEE regularly briefs its members on new funding opportunities and calls for proposals. OEE also reaches out to its members to ensure that the EU’s ocean energy RD&I priorities are fit-for-purpose.
Horizon Europe – The successor to Horizon 2020
Horizon Europe continues funding research and innovation in 2021 with a total budget of €95.5 billion for the next 7 years. Like its predecessor, Horizon 2020, it supports ocean energy research, development and innovation. Calls are both specific to the sector and of broader relevance.
OEE engages on behalf of its members with the European Commission to ensure that Horizon Europe is aligned with the needs of the industry. A new Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda has been released by ETIP Ocean, describing the different ocean energy R&I actions that require funding in the coming years.
Horizon 2020 was the EU’s main funding programme for research and innovation between 2014 and 2020, with €80 billion of funding available through the programme.
European Innovation Council – Supporting breakthrough innovations
The European Innovation Council (EIC) was launched as a pilot under Horizon 2020. The fully-fledged version kicked off with Horizon Europe and was launched in March 2021.
The EIC supports innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and researchers with new ideas and the ambition to scale-up internationally. It is an umbrella programme for various instruments that were previously part of Horizon 2020, such as the SME instrument, Fast Track to Innovation or the Future and Emerging Technologies instrument. These programmes have now been renamed as the EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition and EIC Accelerator.
The EIC aims to identify and support breakthrough technologies and game changing innovations to create new markets and scale up internationally. So it is very well suited to ocean energy.
The main opportunity for the sector is The Accelerator which offers grants of up to €2.5m and equity stakes of up to €15m.
Ocean Energy Europe is in contact with the EIC, and has a members-only briefing on how to access the fund. Several OEE members have won grants under the predecessor programme to the Accelerator.
Interreg – Cooperation across borders
Interreg is one of the key EU instruments supporting cross-border cooperation. It tackles common challenges and finds shared solutions in different fields, including renewable energy.
Interreg was funded by the European Regional Development Fund with a budget of €10.1 billion in the 2014-2020 period. The budget for the 2021-2027 period is €8 billion.
The European Commission proposed a new Regulation to establish the Interreg programme over the 2021-2027 period. The new Regulation focuses on climate, competitiveness and social development which means that there will be lots of new opportunities for ocean energy.