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Brussels, 24 November 2008

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT): Commission welcomes launch of discussions on shape of Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs)

The first seminar on the format of, and selection criteria for, the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), is held today in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. The KICs will be the operational parts of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The Commission welcomes this seminar, which the EIT Governing Board is using to start a dialogue with interested parties to establish a common vision for the KICs.

At the event, Ján Figel', the European Commissioner for Education and Training, Culture and Youth, said “The EIT is a unique, new structure that will bring together the worlds of education, research and business innovation. What a challenge! The key to its success will be how the Knowledge and Innovation Communities, the "KICs" as we call them, will function. This is why I very much welcome the initiative of the EIT Governing Board to actively engage in an exchange of ideas with interested parties on how the future KICs will be established, about the format of future KICs and how the three axes – education, research, innovation – should work together.

Dr. Martin Schuurmans, Chairman of the EIT Governing Board, added: "If the Knowledge and Innovation Communities are to deliver on innovation, we need to shape them very carefully, through new and combined ways of education, research and technology, business creation and entrepreneurship. The EIT is not just new wine in old skins. It is therefore a top priority for the EIT Governing Board to identify those factors that will make the KICs a success. The objective of the first EIT seminar is to seek input to our ideas and reflections and to draw upon the wealth of experience that exists in Europe and beyond".

Interested parties from across Europe and beyond have been invited to this conference on "Shaping the Knowledge and Innovation Communities" to share their views and exchange opinions. The outcome of the debate, which involves representatives of business, entrepreneurship, research and higher education, will feed into the reflections of the Governing Board, which is planning to publish a call for proposals for the first KICs in spring 2009. The selection of the first two to three KICs is due by the end of January 2010, and is a key milestone for the EIT.

What are Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs)?

The EIT has two levels: the Governing Board, which oversees the strategic priorities of the EIT, and the KICs, which do the EIT's actual research, teaching and innovation work. The KICs are highly integrated partnerships that bring together excellence from the worlds of higher education, research, innovative business and entrepreneurship. They will be drivers of innovation in fields that pose major societal challenges, such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable energy and the future information and communication society.

To find out more:

EIT website:

EIT: Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs):

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