Jonathan Wareham, Esade professor and ATTRACT’s Project Consortium Board member, analyses Europe’s stand on deep tech and how the ATTRACT project is helping to build an innovation ecosystem for deep-tech development in the latest blog post of the Lisbon Council.
“In its drive towards digital sovereignty, the European Commission is taking a big bet on so-called “deep tech,” a group of promising European startups that “provide technology solutions based on substantial scientific or engineering challenges,” according to a crowd-sourced definition. These discoveries, in turn, have one crucial thing in common: they are often difficult projects based on complex, still-in-the-laboratory science, and they often require lengthy research and development incubation periods and large capital investment before commercialisation.
The good news is Europe has excellent deep tech; lots of it, in fact. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently boasted to DigitalEurope, an industry association, that “Europe’s ‘deep tech’ companies are worth a combined €700 billion today, and they are growing at incredible speed. Europe is a rising digital power.” In January 2021, for the first time, the European Innovation Council Fund began investing directly in deep-tech startup equity and complementing this direct ownership with mentoring and support through the European Innovation Council Accelerator, previously known as the “SME Instrument,” a programme that seeks to identify promising European startups and help them grow to scale and conquer global markets.