Innovation is the key to growth, competitiveness and social well-being in the 21st century.
The capacity of a society to innovate is crucial in an ever more knowledge-intensive economy.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) aims to enhance Europe’s ability to innovate, which translates into adapting quickly to the fast pace of development, being one step ahead in providing solutions to rapidly emerging societal problems and developing products that meet the demands and desires of consumers.
Europe is facing a significant innovation challenge, where despite an excellence research base, dynamic companies and creative talent, good ideas are too rarely turned into new products or services. Europe needs a real change of mind-set towards the promotion of a more innovative and entrepreneurial culture.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is a body of the European Union based in Budapest, Hungary. It was established by the Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008. It became operational in 2010 in its premises of the EIT Headquarters. The EIT currently employs approximately 50 members of staff and its Director is Mr. Martin Kern.
Created in 2008, the EIT’s mission is to:
Increase European sustainable growth and competitiveness;
Reinforce the innovation capacity of the EU Member States; and
Create the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and prepare for the next innovative breakthroughs.
The EIT creates an unprecedented level of collaboration between innovation and excellence centres with the aim of boosting the innovation process:
From idea to product;
From lab to market; and
From student to entrepreneur.
The EIT is the first EU initiative to fully integrate all three sides of the Knowledge Triangle (higher education, research and business) by way of so-called Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). The integration of all three sides and the effective transmission and sharing of knowledge, information and skills for joint exploitation is crucial to delivering the jobs and growth opportunities that Europe is seeking, as excellent researchers, students and entrepreneurs working in isolation are much less efficient in delivering the results needed and wanted by the market and consumers.
By connecting European business and research, businesses stand to gain as they will be given fresh opportunities to commercialise the most up-to-date and relevant research findings, with the aim of giving Europe first-mover advantage in the latest technological and non-technological fields as well as in open innovation. In return, research organisations will benefit from additional resources, an enhanced networking capacity, and new research perspectives stressing interdisciplinary approaches in areas with strong societal and economic importance. By adding higher education into the mix, businesses will be able to take advantage of a workforce with skills tailored to their needs able to drive their market share forwards; and students will benefit from an education that will make them more attractive to future employers and also more apt at contributing to the development of those employers’ businesses.
EIT as part of Horizon2020
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020), without counting the private investment that this money will attract. It promises to deliver more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from lab to market.
Horizon 2020 is a key pillar of the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at enhancing Europe’s global competitiveness. Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders as well as the Members of the European Parliament. They agreed that research is an investment in our future and therefore put it at the heart of the EU’s blueprint for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs. By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this thanks to its emphasis on excellence in science, industrial leadership and by tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.
The EIT strongly contributes to the objectives set out in Horizon 2020, in particular by addressing societal challenges in a manner that is complementary to other initiatives in these areas.
EIT Strategy 2014-2020
The Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA) and the EIT’s amended Regulation, adopted by the European Parliament and Council in December 2013, define the framework for the EIT’s operations for the period from 2014 to 2020. The EIT will contribute strongly to the objectives set out in Horizon 2020, in particular by addressing societal challenges in a complementary way to other initiatives in these areas. Horizon 2020 is a key pillar of the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at enhancing Europe’s global competitiveness.
Some of the key elements are:
A proposed budget of EUR 2.7 billion within a budget of almost EUR 80 billion for Horizon 2020, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
Creation of five new KICs to be launched in three waves. The themes (outlined in more details in the EIT’s Strategic Innovation Agenda) to be addressed by the new KICs are:
Innovation for healthy living and active ageing; and
Raw materials – sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution
Food4Future – sustainable supply chain from resources to consumers; and
The EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS), is the EIT’s way of ensuring wider participation in its activities. The aim of the RIS is to draw others, outside the KIC partnership, into the world of innovation – to engage with other companies, universities, labs and stakeholder organisations that could help or be helped by the KIC.