Boosting European innovation arena

The EIT budget goes up to support knowledge communities' activities

Tibor Navracsics

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will have a budget of €3bn for the 2021-2027 programming period, which is an increase of €600m or 25% compared to the current one, according to the Commission's proposal tabled last Thursday. It aims to align the EIT with the next research and innovation programme Horizon Europe (2021-2027) delivering on the Commission's commitment to further boost Europe's innovation potential.

The EIT is an independent EU body created in 2008 that is strengthening Europe's ability to innovate. With its boosted budget, the Institute will be able to better fund activities of existing and new Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) and support the innovation capacity of 750 higher education institutions. The EIT currently supports eight KICs which bring together companies, universities and research centres to form cross-border partnerships.

“Since 2008, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology has been nurturing talent and creativity through a unique focus on education and entrepreneurship. The strategy we are now putting in place for 2021-2027 will help ensure that all of Europe's regions benefit from the Institute's potential and will further boost the innovation capacity of our higher education sector,” Education Commissioner Tibor Navracsics said.

The EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda for 2021-2027 is designed several goals. First, it aims at increasing the regional impact of KICs: In the future, the EIT will strengthen its networks, involving more higher education institutions, businesses and research organisations by developing regional outreach strategies. The selection of cooperation partners and the preparation of KIC activities will be more inclusive.

Second, it will further boost the innovation capacity of higher education: The EIT will support 750 higher education institutions with funding, expertise and coaching, enabling them to develop economic activities within their area of interest. The Institute will design and launch activities particularly in countries with a lower innovation capacity. In doing so, the EIT will build on successful policy initiatives such as HEInnovate, a free self-assessment tool for all types of higher education institutions, or the Regional Innovation Impact Assessment Framework,which allows universities to assess how they are fostering innovation in the regions they are based in.

Ans third, the EIT will launch two new KICs, selected in fields most relevant to Horizon Europe policy priorities. The first one is set to focus on the cultural and creative industries and is planned to start in 2022. This sector has a high growth potential, many local grassroots initiatives and strong citizen appeal and is complementary to the existing eight KICs. The priority field of a second new KIC will be decided at a later stage; it is due to be launched in 2025.

Both EIT Regulation and the Commission proposal on the Strategic Innovation Agenda for 2021-2027 will be presented to the European Parliament and the Council for discussion and adoption in the near future..

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