Brussels, 14 April 2011
European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT): Commission consults on future strategy
Brussels, 14 April - The European Commission today launches a public consultation on the future strategy of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) following the success of its initial phase. The consultation will feed into a 'strategic innovation agenda' for the EIT which the Commission is due to propose by the end of this year. The agenda will outline the Institute's main priorities until 2020, focusing on the Institute's mission and objectives, funding and future themes. The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, who is responsible for the EIT, will announce the consultation at a conference in Budapest.
"With the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, we are pioneering a new collaboration between higher education, research and business. The Commission is keen to listen to the views of our partners before finalising our proposal on the future strategy. The idea of it is to build on the lessons learned from the Institute's first phase and to prepare the way for expanding the EIT. The Institute has the potential to become a powerful motor of innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe," declared Commissioner Vassiliou.
The EIT has an administrative headquarters (in Budapest), but operates from 16 sites throughout Europe, from Barcelona to Stockholm, through cross-border public-private partnerships known as 'knowledge and innovation communities', or KICs for short. The KICs bring together excellent higher education institutions, research centres and businesses. To date, three KICs have been created, focusing on sustainable energy (InnoEnergy KIC), climate change (Climate KIC) and information and communication society (EIT ICTLabs).
The consultation complements a broad debate on the future of EU research and innovation funding (see Commission Green Paper "From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation funding", 9 February 2011).
The consultation is open for comments from 14 April. The deadline for feedback from interested parties is 30 June. Based on the results of this process, as well as an independent evaluation and also a proposal from the EIT itself, the Commission will present the strategic innovation agenda by December 2011.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an autonomous EU body stimulating world-leading innovation, through the pioneering concept of knowledge and innovation communities. The EIT has received €309 million from the EU budget for the period 2007-2013. The chief executives of the KICs recently signed seven-year partnership agreements with the EIT. The agreements include an initial grant of up to €10 million for each KIC. This will rise to an average of €20 million for each KIC in the following year. The KICs can now start rolling out educational programmes with EIT-labelled Masters' and PhDs, research projects and help set up new businesses. The InnoEnergy KIC alone plans to educate and train almost 2,000 students and mid-career professionals over the next three years and to launch 20 companies.