Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:
Europe needs to work together to compete globally on innovation. Today’s signature shows that we are ready to do this. I am proud that Europe’s new innovation initiative – the European Innovation Council – is joining forces with our existing body – the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. Both of them will contribute to accelerating the twin transition to a green and digital economy as well as to create jobs and opportunities for all the talented innovators across Europe.
This agreement will strengthen the support that the EIC and EIT are already providing to thousands of innovative start-ups and SMEs to scale up in Europe and will ensure mutual access to advisory services and networks. In particular, the two initiatives will join forces to fast track support to highly innovative start-ups, as well as to coordinate efforts to support women innovators and innovators from less represented regions. The EIC and EIT also aim to share data and intelligence on the innovative start-ups and SMEs they support, including measurements of impacts achieved.
To reach these objectives, the EIC Advisory Board and the EIT Governing Board will set up a permanent structured collaboration through a joint working group, regular reviews and joint communication efforts. This will be supported by the respective implementing agencies and Commission services.
The Memorandum of Understanding follows the signature in September 2020 of a letter of intent between the EIC and three of the EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), as well as a set of pilot actions between the EIC and four of the EIT KICs.
The EIC and EIT are part of a wider ecosystem that the EU is putting in place under Horizon Europe, the new EU research and innovation programme, to give Europe's many entrepreneurs every opportunity to become world-leading companies. Other complementary initiatives include the Industry strategy, SME strategy, Digital Europe strategy, and the European Research Area.
Currently in its pilot phase, the European Innovation Council (EIC) supports research teams and start-ups/SMEs developing high-risk, high-impact breakthrough innovation, with a particular focus on game-changing solutions that contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Recovery Plan for Europe. The EIC provides direct financial support, investment opportunities and coaching to breakthrough and disruptive innovation projects from deep tech founders to start-ups, from entrepreneurial researchers to investors, and from corporate partners to global markets. The EIC features the EIC Fund, set to be the largest early stage equity fund in Europe, designed to crowd in investments from venture capital and other impact investors. As a key novelty, the fully-fledged EIC will be launched together with Horizon Europe in the first months of 2021.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is Europe’s largest innovation network with more than 2,000 partners from leading business, research and education organisations working together in more than 60 innovation hubs across Europe. The EIT strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial talent to create sustainable growth and skilled jobs in Europe. The Institute supports the development of dynamic pan-European partnerships - EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities - among top companies, research labs and universities. The EIT Community offers a wide range of innovation and entrepreneurship activities across Europe: entrepreneurial education courses, innovation driven research projects, and business creation and acceleration services.
- Publication date
- 8 January 2021
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation