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European Education Area

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The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

What is the European Institute of Innovation and Technology? 

Based in Budapest, Hungary, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is the European Union’s (EU) initiative to support innovation at a systemic level – from education to the market. 

The EIT brings together organisations working in the field of education, research and innovation (the so-called ‘knowledge triangle’) to form dynamic cross-border partnerships and create environments fostering innovation.

The Institute promotes and supports a new generation of entrepreneurs and stimulates the creation of innovative businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The EIT’s mission is to

  • promote cooperation and integration between higher education, research and businesses to create innovation ecosystems
  • contribute to sustainable economic growth, competitiveness and entrepreneurship by enhancing EU Member States’ capacity for innovation 
  • address major societal challenges faced by the Union

The EIT forms part of Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation investment programme. 

The Institute falls under the programme’s third pillar – ‘Innovative Europe’ – which seeks to stimulate technological breakthroughs and innovation ecosystems.

The EIT plays a key role in the new European Innovation Agenda and will drive the development of one of its flagship actions – the Deep Tech Talent Initiative. The initiative seeks to train one million people in deep tech fields by 2025.

Make a pledge to support the goal of the Deep Tech Talent Initiative.

The EIT also works in partnership with other EU initiatives and funding schemes, such as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA). Find out more about the synergies between the EIT and the MSCA.

What does the EIT do? 

The EIT runs nine Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), each of which tackles a specific societal challenge. 

The KICs support innovation and entrepreneurship and generate breakthroughs by fostering collaboration between higher education, research and businesses. In particular, the EIT and its KICs

  • train the next generation of entrepreneurs through entrepreneurial education programmes at master’s and doctoral level
  • develop innovative products and services through innovation-driven research projects
  • support new companies in their start-up and scale-up phase through coaching, business creation and acceleration services

Currently, eight KICs operate in the following fields

  • EIT Climate KIC: working to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy
  • EIT InnoEnergy: achieving a sustainable energy future for Europe
  • EIT Digital: driving Europe’s digital transformation
  • EIT Health: providing EU citizens greater opportunities to enjoy a healthy life
  • EIT Raw Materials: developing raw materials as a major strength for Europe
  • EIT Food: leading a global revolution in food and production
  • EIT Urban Mobility: developing smart, green and integrated urban transport
  • EIT Manufacturing: strengthening and increasing the competitiveness of Europe’s manufacturing industry

The ninth EIT KIC on Culture and Creativity was launched in 2022 to unlock the innovation potential of the cultural and creative sectors and industries. It will become fully operational in 2024.

Legal texts 

The EIT’s Regulation and the Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA) 2021-2027 entered into force on 28 May 2021. The SIA emphasises the following aspects of the EIT and its activities

  • The need to increase the KICs’ impact, openness and transparency by opening them up to a wider range of stakeholders. This will enhance the spreading of knowledge and innovation across the Union.
  • The need to reinforce the entrepreneurial and innovation capacity of higher education institutions across Europe by promoting institutional change in higher education institutions and by supporting their integration into the innovation ecosystems around them. To reach this policy goal, the EIT is running a 3-year pilot initiative – HEI initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education.
  • The reinforced EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) boosting innovation in countries with modest or moderate innovation performance. It aims to share best practices, experience and know-how emerging from EIT KIC activities with local innovation ecosystems and offers tailor-made services to address identified innovation gaps.
  • The launch of two new KICs in the field of cultural and creative sectors and industries (in 2022) and water, marine and maritime sectors and ecosystems (in 2026).

Facts and figure

With an earmarked budget of €2.965 billion, the Strategic Innovation Agenda 2021-2027 will increase the impact of the EIT and its KICs throughout all three branches of the knowledge triangle – education, research and business. 

The Strategic Innovation Agenda foresees the launch of 4,000 innovative products and services on the market and the support of 700 start-ups by 2027. 

The EIT also aims to involve 680 higher education institutions and to engage more than 25,000 students in its educational programmes by 2027.

More information about facts and figures related to the EIT activities is available in the EIT online brochure.