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European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

This Regulation marks the creation of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). It describes the objectives and the organisational, legal and budgetary aspects of the EIT.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 establishing the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.

SUMMARY

With the creation of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the European Union is a step closer to creating a knowledge economy.

More specifically, setting up the EIT must:

  • buffer the effects of fragmentation of the European knowledge sector;
  • create new reference models based on excellence;
  • integrate the economic and innovative dimension into research and education;
  • address the innovation gap *.

In other words, the EIT must make it possible to unite the three sides of the knowledge triangle (education, research and innovation) by attracting the best and most talented players in these fields and developing its many networks.

Objectives and missions

The EIT is a body dedicated to (higher) education, research and innovation. It will be primarily engaged in focusing the three sides of the knowledge triangle on a single, common goal: enhance European economic growth and competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of the EU and its Member States.

It will serve as a flagship of excellence as it will be structured in such a way as to bring together these three different sectors. Its principal task will be to:

  • identify its priority fields;
  • promote the dissemination of good practices for the integration of the knowledge triangle;
  • become a world class body for excellence;
  • inform potential partner organisations*;
  • ensure complementarity and synergy between its activities and other Community programmes;
  • select, designate and coordinate Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs – see below) in the priority areas;
  • mobilise the necessary funds from public and private sources and manage those funds;
  • promote the recognition of EIT degrees and diplomas in the Member States.

The EIT will also be able to initiate the creation of a foundation (the ‘EIT Foundation’) to promote and support its activities.

Functioning

The EIT is intended to be autonomous. This will be reflected in its management, in its selection, monitoring and evaluation processes, as well as in its funding.

The EIT must be coherent in its actions, policies and initiatives, which will be carried out on a Community, national and intergovernmental level in its different areas of activity.

Structure and governance

In terms of structure and governance, the EIT has the following features:

  • a Governing Board;
  • an Executive Committee;
  • a Director;
  • an Internal Auditing Function;
  • KICs – integrated partnerships (can include third countries) made up of teams comprising universities, research bodies and industry.

The Governing Board will be composed of high-level members from the worlds of higher education, science and business. Its main tasks will entail:

  • managing EIT activities;
  • selecting, designating and evaluating KICs;
  • setting strategic EIT priorities in addition to the main thematic areas with which it will be involved.

The Executive Committee will oversee the running of the EIT and take decisions in the periods between meetings of the Governing Board.

The Director will be the legal representative of the Institute, responsible to the Governing Board for its administrative and financial management.

The Internal Audit advises the Governing Board and the Director on the financial and administrative management of the EIT, on the organisation of financial links with KICs and on any other subject requested by the Governing Board.

The role of the KICs will consist mainly of:

  • implementing innovation and investment activities focusing on research and education in interdisciplinary areas, stimulating the dissemination and utilisation of the results;
  • conducting cutting-edge research in the areas which are of greatest socioeconomic interest to the Community and show real potential for innovation;
  • organising education and training activities;
  • spreading best practice as regards governance and cooperation.

These communities will be composed of departments and partnership teams from universities, research centres and businesses. They will bring together different types of resources such as infrastructure, staff and public as well as private finance. They will use these resources to create high-level critical mass and to pool education, research and innovation excellence in their own field. While the physical resources will be geographically dispersed, each community will operate as an integrated whole. They should also benefit from complete autonomy and flexibility at the level of their internal organisation as well as for their resource management. These communities will be selected through a competitive process by the EIT and will be accountable to it. Going beyond mere cooperation, they will provide resources (infrastructure, staff, equipment) to the EIT.

Whether a particular KIC is selected or not depends on several criteria relating to its technological and innovation potential, its funding and its management and operational capabilities.

The Regulation also provides for the Commission to appoint observers. They may participate in meetings of the three EIT committees.

More information on EIT bodies can be found in the Annex to the Regulation.

Degrees and diplomas

To strengthen the EIT ‘brand’, as well as its identity, reputation and visibility, participating higher education institutes are especially encouraged to award joint or multiple degrees and diplomas, reflecting the integrated nature of the KICs.

In accordance with Articles 149 and 150 of the EC Treaty, the Member States will in particular facilitate recognition of EIT degrees and diplomas.

Status

Being a Community agency, the EIT has legal personality and enjoys the privileges and immunities which apply to the European Communities.

The EIT is solely responsible for meeting its obligations. The Court of Justice of the European Communities has jurisdiction in any dispute.

Seat

In accordance with Decision 2008/634/EC, the seat of the EIT is located in Budapest.

Financial aspects

The EIT's resources comprise:

  • contributions from the EU budget;
  • statutory or voluntary contributions from participating States, third countries or public authorities within them;
  • contributions from businesses or private organisations;
  • bequests, donations and contributions from individuals, institutions, foundations or any other national body;
  • the EIT's income;
  • revenue generated by the KICs’ own activities and royalties from intellectual property rights;
  • contributions from international bodies or institutions;
  • revenue generated by the EIT’s activities, results or capital endowments;
  • loans and contributions from the European Investment Bank.

The Institute's initial budget for the period from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2013 is set at EUR 308.7 million.

The Institute's expenditure includes staff, administrative, infrastructure and operational expenses.

General aspects

The EIT is to carry out its activities independently and in a manner consistent with other actions, policies, initiatives and instruments implemented at different levels of governance.

The EIT will act in accordance with the principles of intellectual property and transparency.

The EIT will adopt a three-year work programme, based on a Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA)*, incorporating its main initiatives and priorities, as well as an estimate of its financial requirements and sources of funding. It will also adopt an evaluation report every year. Both documents will be published.

The EIT will be subject to continuous monitoring, as well as periodic independent evaluations.

Finally, from now until June 2011 and every five years after the entry into force of a new financial framework, the Commission will publish an evaluation of the EIT.

Background

In recent years, various initiatives have been taken, both by the European Union (EU) and by the Member States, in the areas of education, research and innovation, in order to link them more effectively and to make a stronger contribution to economic growth, employment and social cohesion, but no real success has been achieved.

The Commission therefore proposed, in its spring 2005 report, the creation of a ‘European Institute of Technology’ (EIT), as a major contribution to Europe’s growth and competitiveness.

Key terms used in the act
  • Innovation: the process – and the results – by which new ideas respond to the demands of society or the economy and new products, services or business models are produced which are successfully introduced to an existing market or which have the potential to create new markets.
  • Partner organisation: any organisation which is a member of a KIC; in particular this can apply to universities, research institutes, public or private businesses, financial institutions, regional and local authorities or foundations.
  • Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA): policy document outlining the priority fields of the EIT for future initiatives, including an overview of the planned higher education, research and innovation activities, for a period of seven years.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EC) No 294/2008

29.4.2008

-

OJ L 97 of 9.4.2008

RELATED ACTS

Decision 2008/634/EC taken by common agreement between the Representatives of the Governments of Member States of 18 June 2008 on the location of the seat of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) [Journal Official L 206 of 2.8.2008].

Communication from the Commission to the European Council of 8 June 2006, ‘European Institute of Technology: further steps towards its creation’ [COM(2006) 276 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission communication of 22 February 2006, ‘Implementing the renewed partnership for growth and jobs – Developing a knowledge flagship: the European Institute of Technology’ [COM(2006) 77 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
Both communications seek mainly to bring into being a European Institute of Technology (EIT), which was first proposed in 2005 by the European Commission. They describe the approach to be followed for setting up the Institute and the way in which it might operate as regards its structure and financing. Emphasis is also placed on the various benefits which such an initiative could bring, both for the individual participants and for the ‘Europe of Knowledge’ as a whole.

Last updated: 29.09.2008

See also

  • Additional information is available on the official EIT website
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