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Innovation Funding Landscape in 2023

It is not just the age of digital economy. That is an overarching thing. It is the age of sustainability, cross-border, AI, Data and funky funding models.

Innovation Funding Landscape in 2023

In a brutally competitive innovation funding landscape, understanding the trends will go a long way in making difference between good applications and approved-for-funding ones:


Greater emphasis on sustainability, which was already pretty great for some time, is driven by the awareness of the climate change issues and environmental challenges in general. Startups and SMEs that are fostering and aggressively promoting their #renewable energy, #circular economy, and #sustainable agriculture tags are literally living through their golden age. In addition to being a category on its own, sustainability has been promoted to a horizontal principle status, crosscutting all other categories, and thus opening endless opportunities to those who know how to surf that wave.

Cross-Border Collaboration

Cross-border collaboration has always been a thing with EU support instruments. In 2022 and 2023, the pressure of cross-border collaboration imperative is ramping up, particularly regarding relation between old EU core and so-called Widening countries and their respective innovation ecosystems. Along with programs with explicitly dedicated Widening dimension, it is increasingly difficult to find CFP where cross-border consortia are not required, or at least encouraged in very quantitative ways.

AI and Data

There’s an increased focus on AI and data in the funding landscape, driven by the growing importance of the two, as well as the traditional habit of jumping on the hype. Funding landscape overall is increasingly focused on supporting innovative solutions in the field of data, predictive analytics, machine learning, and natural language processing. Grants, however, are mostly awarded for piloting and implementation of those solutions in traditional economy as a collective continent-wide push for knowledge and innovation driven competitive edge.

Flexible Funding Models

Cascade funding calls are becoming more and more creative in their funding models. As tempting as it is to see this as needlessly complex for no obvious reason, it is also fair to say that the whole innovation funding environment is still somewhat of a pioneering effort, growing and fine tuning itself along the way. To adjust to this, startups should be open to different funding models, such as a blended financing, funding specific stages rather than the entire project, or service vouchers that serve the purpose of a strengthening relations between startups and business experts, increasing coherence within ecosystem and producing value at the same time.

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