In the morning of 1 July, EIF and Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) jointly hosted a Breakfast Debate on ‘Innovation, R&D and EU funds’ in the European Parliament in Brussels. This debate was an occasion to provide a better understanding of how the European Union can help innovative projects via EU funds and to share concrete examples.

The EU makes more than 100 billion euros of funding available and adopts a great number of legal acts every year. However, only a very small fraction of potential beneficiaries makes use of it, either because they think the EU has nothing to offer to their business, or they have difficulties finding funding opportunities.

Prominent speakers contributed to the debate, chaired by Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP, and exchanged views with participants. Gerard de Graaf, Director, Digital Economy & Coordination at European Commission DG CNECT presented the Commission’s initiatives in this sector, including the Innovations radar and Innovation procurement. Dr Roland Strauss, Managing Director, Knowledge4Innovation and founder of the EU Funding Trends, news and events portal, introduced and explained how it allows stakeholders to identify, discover and make the most of the available funding opportunities. Gábor Szabó, Dean of the University of Szeged, Hungary, presented the example of Extreme Laser Infrastructure (ELI), a European project with an investment volume exceeding 850 Million Euros, mostly stemming from the European Regional Development Funds (ERDF). Finally, Dr Monica Dietl, Director of the COST Association, made a presentation of COST (the longest-running European framework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe) contribution via innovative networks, in particular in the area of ICT.