11 March 2008
Welcoming the Parliament's vote, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso stated: "I am delighted with this decisive step forward towards establishing the EIT. The EIT is set to become an important feature of Europe's innovation landscape. It will facilitate and enhance partnerships and cooperation between the worlds of business, research and higher education across the European Union, thereby helping to continue to boost jobs and growth in Europe in the future."
Commenting on the successful completion of this legislative process, the President added: "Today, all parties involved have clearly re-confirmed their determination to see the EIT through."
To boost Europe's innovation capacity, the EIT will operate on the basis of highly integrated partnerships known as "Knowledge and Innovation Communities". These KICs will pool together a critical mass of the best resources from higher education institutions, research organisations, businesses and other stakeholders in the innovation process. They will be selected and coordinated by an independent Governing Board, composed of 18 renowned personalities from business, research and academia. The involvement of business at both the strategic and operational levels is the cornerstone of the whole EIT initiative.
The Governing Board members will be appointed in June 2008. In January, the Commission already set up an ad-hoc Identification Committee whose task is to identify and propose future members of the Board. In this capacity, the Committee has just launched an open consultation on the main criteria to be taken into account. The entire identification process is expected to take approximately four months.
The first two or three KICs will be selected within 18 months after the appointment of the Governing Board. The focus will be on strategic areas where the EU faces vital current and future challenges. These are likely to include climate change, renewable energies and the next generation of information and communication technologies.
Following the adoption of the Regulation, the European Council will decide on
the location of the EIT's future headquarters, possibly as early as June this
EIT website: www.ec.europa.eu/eit
See also MEMO/08/153