Thursday, September 8, 2011
Support for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology is stronger than ever
This is the result of a public consultation to which nearly 200 organisations and individuals responded. According to respondents, the EIT should play a distinctive role in 'Horizon 2020', the future EU Programme for Research and Innovation, and forge closer links with other European and national efforts. A majority of respondents praised the way in which the EIT ensures the participation of businesses in its work and urged the Institute to step up its outreach activities. 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. Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, welcomed the support for the EIT expressed in the consultation: "This clearly shows that that the EIT is on track and that its role in fostering innovation in Europe is essential. There is a strong desire across the board to ensure a sound future for the EIT. The input we have received will help the Commission to design solutions to the innovation challenges that lie ahead." Nearly all respondents (90%) agreed that the EIT should have a distinctive role within Horizon 2020. Participants consider it equally important to consolidate the activities of the EIT and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), a pioneering form of cross-border public-private partnerships, by providing tangible results and concrete benefits to society. Currently, there are three Knowledge and Innovation Communities focusing on climate change, sustainable energy and information and communication technologies. Regarding the creation of new KICs, the themes respondents found most relevant were health/ageing (81%), and sustainable cities/mobility (77%). They say that the new KICs should be aligned with the priorities of the forthcoming EU strategy for research and innovation, bring about sustainable and systematic impact, and achieve a critical mass of excellent education, research and innovation stakeholders. Respondents considered business involvement as highly relevant for the future success of the EIT. Flexibility, clarity on rules and clear returns on investment will be fundamental in order to attract private sector participation, they said. Respondents also strongly called on the EIT and its KICs to reinforce communication about its results and to improve its outreach across Europe. The EIT should promote new models of knowledge sharing and open innovation and come up with concrete measures to disseminate the results of its activities and innovation models to all relevant stakeholders. Background The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was set up in 2008 at the initiative of the European Commission and is an autonomous EU body stimulating world-leading innovation. It aims to achieve this objective through the pioneering concept of cross-border public-partnerships known as knowledge and innovation communities (KICs). The EIT has an administrative headquarters (in Budapest) and its KICs operate from 16 sites throughout Europe, from Barcelona to Stockholm, bringing 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 ICT Labs). The EIT has received €309 million from the EU budget for the period 2007-2013. The public consultation on the future of the EIT was open from 14 April to 30 June 2011. The Commission received 187 contributions, 134 of which were submitted via an online questionnaire, and 53 as written contributions. Contributions were received from a wide range of stakeholder organisations from higher education (35%), business (26%) and research (22%). In its budget plan for 2014-2020, presented in June, the Commission has proposed a substantial increase research and innovation funding. Under this proposal the European Institute of Innovation and Technology would be part of the EU's €80 billion 'Horizon 2020' strategy for research and innovation. The aim is to boost Europe's global competitiveness and help create jobs and ideas of tomorrow.
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