The rationale of the EIP Water is to make use of existing mechanisms, also with regard to funding opportunities. The EIP will be linked to the existing EU financial mechanisms, such as Horizon 2020, the Cohesion and Structural funds, LIFE, the European Fund for Strategic Investments EFSI and others.

The Commission services aim to link the EIP Water to these financial mechanisms, so they can support actions of the EIP Water. Working on projects that are linked to the EIP priorities will increase the chances for EU funding.

European Commission’s Directorate-General for Budget has made available a general guide to EU funding, which introduces the EU funding opportunities available in the period 2014-2020. The guide presents an overview of the EU funding options according to the main categories of potential beneficiaries: researchers, public bodies, small companies (SMEs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), farmers and young people. The guide is available in 23 languages. See: EC guide webpage.

Type of Funding
Phase in Water Life Cycle

 General description

Horizon 2020

  •  Public
  •  Research

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. The H2020 digital portal is an one-stop platform for everyone who is looking for research funding. 


  •  Public
  •  All levels up to commercialization phase

The LIFE programme is the EU’s financing instrument for the environment. In 2018 several updates are set out to streamline the LIFE programme in its new Multi-annual Programme that runs from 2018 to 2020. Several funding types and calls will become available. 

Danube Transnational Programme

  •  Public
  •  Later stage

The Danube Transnational Programme finances projects for the development and practical implementation of policy frameworks, tools and services and concrete small-scale pilot investments. Environment, water, energy and innovation are important focus points.


  •  Public
  •  Early stage

COST supports networking activities for researchers, engineers and scholars (as core group) with business enterprises, practitioners, regulators, and users (as participants) for research coordination or capacity building in pan-European networks to pool and leverage research and to engage in dissemination and exploitation activities with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies in Europe.

ACQUEAU Open Calls

  •  Public
  •  Private
  •  Strong market and exploitation orientation

ACQUEAU supports near water-market projects, in order to facilitate the development of innovative products, processes and systems in the water sector. Acting as an intermediary between project participants and funding agencies, our mission is to deliver the EUREKA ∑! label, which facilitates access to national funding for participants.

Veolia VIA

  •  Private
  •  Start-ups, researchers, suppliers

Designed and developed by Veolia Group, VIA is an initiative to support green growth around the world by promoting the development and deployment of leading clean technologies in partnership with entrepreneurs.

Isle Utilities

  •  Private
  •  Start-ups, demonstration phase, pre-commercialization

Isle connects start-up companies with end users and investors focusing on pre-commercial technologies that may be 1–2 years from market. The TAG (Technology Approval Group) assesses technologies and connects with end users and investors.


  •  Public
  •  Start-ups and SMEs with eco-innovation

INNEON is a catalyst accelerating the commercialisation of eco-innovation and social innovation that brings economic, environmental and social benefits in Europe. INNEON is a forum for investors and entrepreneurs/innovators. Innovators and investors can join a dedicated network, providing access to an online matchmaking platform, live networking events and more, to improve the quality of deals and allow for efficient matching of entrepreneurs and investors.


  •  Public
  •  Pre-commercial to commercialization phase

Eurostars supports international innovative projects led by research and development- performing small- and medium-sized enterprises (R&D-performing SMEs). With its bottom-up approach, Eurostars supports the development of rapidly marketable innovative products, processes and services.

RIS3 Regions

  •  Public
  •  Not applicable

The Smart Specialisation Platform provides professional advice to EU countries and regions for the design and implementation of their research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3). Several RIS3 regions have committed to a particular funding focus on water-related innovation.


  •  Private
  •  Start-ups

Kickstarter is a way to fund creative projects. One sector is technology. Kickstarter acts as a platform and a resource, but is not involved in the projects themselves. Project developers set a funding goal and deadline.Project need to reach their funding gaols in order to receive any money. Creators keep their 100% ownership; financial supporter are not supposed to profit financially.

In case you know further funding opportunities that should be listed here, please contact the EIP Water Secretariat.