Damian Borowski
Berlin Office

Fast Track to Innovation (FTI), the EU’s thematically open instrument for funding mature innovative technologies, is back in 2018. After a two-year pilot and € 200 million in funding distributed across Europe, the European Commission has finalised its internal evaluation of FTI and concluded that the programme will be continued in 2018-2020.

FTI has been a highly attractive (and competitive) funding instrument since it was first introduced in 2015. Established originally as an initiative of the European Parliament carried to the European Commission, FTI was meant to fill a gap in the EU funding landscape. The idea was to provide the industry (both large and small) with a bottom-up funding scheme for bringing exciting innovations to the market faster, and ultimately boost the European economy. FTI was the first thematically open EU funding instrument addressing large industry and offering highly attractive funding conditions: up to € 3 million in funding per project, with participants’ own financial contribution at 30% of total project costs (70% of costs covered by FTI funding).

The relatively modest annual FTI budget of € 100 million, distributed equally among three cut-off dates per year, has been always fiercely contested by applicants across Europe. Not much is expected to change in 2018-2020, with the annual FTI budget remaining at the same level. An additional factor contributing to the high competitiveness of FTI is the possibility to resubmit past unsuccessful FTI applications without limitations. Many unsuccessful applicants learn from past mistakes by incorporating the evaluator’s feedback and resubmit their applications for the next FTI cut-off date.
Should the above-mentioned information discourage industry from participating? Not at all. LNE Group has gathered unique experience in preparing FTI proposals and was one of the first to succeed shortly after FTI was introduced. Our unique stage-gate process for preparing FTI proposals helps us to identify strong funding candidates early on and eliminate project ideas with little chance of success. This saves the client’s time and money and translates into LNE Group’s FTI success rate being ten times higher than the average FTI success rate.

Finally, LNE Group advises clients on the strategy and timing of FTI applications to increase chances of success. Based on the statistics from past FTI calls, the average chances of success almost double while applying to the first and second cut-off deadline in a year, as opposed to the third cut-off, which is always heavily oversubscribed (see Figure 1).

If you have an exciting mature technology which is just a step away from the market and are interested in LNE Group support in applying for FTI funding, contact us. Going for the FTI cut-off in February 2018 will double your chances of success.