European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has been created to enhance Europe’s ability to innovate by integrating, for the first time at the EU level, education and entrepreneurship with research and innovation [1]. The EIT plays a vital role in supporting the EU’s objectives of creating sustainable economic growth and jobs by enabling entrepreneurs and innovators to turn their best ideas into products and services for Europe [2]. The EIT ultimately aims to boost and significantly accelerate the innovation process - from idea to product and service, from student and researcher to entrepreneur, from lab to the market - thereby triggering a change towards a more entrepreneurial mindset [1].

The EIT is an integral part of Horizon 2020, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation [2]. The EIT will contribute strongly to the objectives of Horizon 2020 by addressing societal challenges in a complementary way and enhancing Europe's global competitiveness [3].

 

The EIT nurtures entrepreneurial talent and supports new ideas, bringing together the ‘knowledge triangle’ of leading companies, universities and research centres to form dynamic cross-border partnerships called Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) [2]. Through the KICs, the EIT develops and tests new models of how innovation is approached, managed, financed and delivered in Europe [1]. The KICs carry out activities that cover the entire innovation chain from research to the market [1,4]:

  • development of innovative products and services,
  • entrepreneurial education and training programmes,
  • incubation of and support to start-ups and ventures

Within this innovation chain, a KIC aims to attract business professionals, educators, students, entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, and academics, from Europe and abroad [1].

 

A KIC is a legally and financially structured partnership, setting up its own governance system. The EIT contributes to 25% of a KIC’s overall budget. The remaining 75% should be financed from other non-EIT sources (primarily partners’own resources and other sources including national/regional funding). For that reason, there must be a strong commitment by KIC partners, containing a financial support [1].

There are currently eight Innovation Communities and each focuses on a different societal challenge: [4]

EIT Climate-KIC: addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation

EIT Digital: addressing Information and Communication Technologies

EIT Food: putting Europe at the centre of a global revolution in food innovation and production

EIT Health: addressing healthy living and active ageing

EIT Manufacturing: strengthening and increasing the competiveness of Europe's manufacturing

EIT InnoEnergy: addressing sustainable energy

EIT Urban Mobility: Smart, green and integrated transport

EIT Raw Materials: Developing raw materials into a major strength for Europe

 

Opportunities to participate in KICs

A KIC is a dynamic partnership. With increasing extent of its activities, a KIC is expected to expand the partnership to incorporate new partners, as they bring further added value to the KIC [1]. It is also possible to benefit from KICs activities by The EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (EIT RIS) which is the EIT Community’s outreach scheme.

 

Some of the EIT Community’s accomplishments and influence up to now: [6]

· Being the largest innovation community in Europe, with 40 innovation hubs across Europe, EIT has brought together over 1,000 partners (business, both large corporates and SME participation)

· Over 1250 start-ups and scale-ups supported with 6,100 highly skilled jobs created.

· 670 innovative products and services have been brought to market.

· Over 1 700 students graduating from EIT label entrepreneurial education programmes.

 

Total Budget: 2.7 Billion Euro

 

  1. https://eit.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EIT%202016%20Call%20for%20KICs%20proposals.pdf
  2. https://eit.europa.eu/sites/default/files/eit_leaflet_09_2017.pdf
  3. https://eit.europa.eu/eit-community/eit-glance/eit-strategy-2014-2020
  4. https://eit.europa.eu/activities/innovation-communities
  5. https://eit.europa.eu/activities/outreach/eit-regional-innovation-scheme...
  6. https://eit.europa.eu/sites/default/files/pr_eitawards_nominees_announcement.pdf