Funding on the European Level
Horizon 2020 is the biggest research and innovation program on the European level, with nearly €80 billions of funding made available between 2014 and 2020. The European Commission is increasing investments in AI under the Horizon 2020 program to €1.5 billion in the period 2018 until 2020. This is a 70 percent increase compared to 2014 until 2017.
Under the next multi-annual financial framework running from 2021 to 2027, the European Commission has proposed to dedicate at least €1 billion per year to AI programs from the Horizon 2020 successor Horizon Europe. The Digital Europe Program, which is part of Horizon Europe, aims at investing an overall amount of €2.5 billion to help promote the use of AI technologies across the European economy and society. The budget builds on the Coordinated Plan on Artificial intelligenceand provides funding for among others digital innovation hubsacross Europe and the AI on-demand-platform AI4EU.
The European Commission also aims at providing funding for startups in their early stage as well as for companies in their scale-up phase. The most relevant instruments for this goal are currently Horizon 2020, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and the European Investment Fund.
The European Innovation Council (EIC) was established under Horizon 2020 to support cutting-edge technologies and most innovative startups. In 2018 alone, 74 innovative SME-projects and startups have been funded to develop AI related innovations. In early 2019 a new pilot initiative will be launched to support the next generation of human-centric AI technologies. Overall, between 2018 and 2020, the EIC pilot will provide €2.7 billion to breakthrough, market-creating innovations.
The European Data Incubator is a program for big data startups and SMEs in Europe. It is also funded by Horizon 2020 and offers mentoring from experts, workshops as well as datathons in emerging markets. Firms can receive free equity up to €100.000, free cloud environment and connections to major European corporations.
For the timeframe 2021 until 2027, AI will also be further supported by the InvestEU Fund, which will mobilize public and private investment through an EU budget guarantee.