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Research and innovation

About the Flagship

Innovation depends on the successful nurture, attraction and retention of talented individuals and a diverse array of skills. High quality education and attractive working conditions are thus key to attracting and ensuring a flow of highly skilled and talented individuals that can contribute to achieving wider policy priorities including the twin transition and a competitive edge in strategic value chains. In the light of the adopted New European Innovation Agenda, actions have been established to ensure European retain and attract talent from across Europe and beyond.

Deep tech talent initiative

The European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) is implementing The Deep Tech Talent Initiative by skilling one million people in deep tech fields by 2025. This pioneering talent development initiative will secure the future of Europe’s competitiveness and address the most pressing global challenges by promoting cutting-edge technologies and a sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation culture in education and training. 

Since the launch of the initiative in October 2022, approximately 150 education providers and companies have already committed to train more than 835 000 learners on deep tech fields like AI, machine learning, quantum computing, robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality, metaverse. Almost 150 000 people have already completed their training. There are over 100 available courses on the dedicated online platform. To attract new pledgers and support existing ones, the EIT awarded the Deep Tech Talent Training Prize in 2023. This award aims to recognise excellence in tackling deep tech training challenges. A dedicated DTTI call for training proposals was published on 3 April 2024 with a deadline on 20 June 2024.

Relevant links

The pledge

Innovation Internship Scheme

The European Innovation Council (EIC) will launch the Next Generation Innovation Talents Scheme in the first quarter of 2024. The Scheme will offer over 600 internships in EIC and EIT supported companies to researchers and aspiring innovators from various Horizon Europe funded programmes. It will allow to the participating companies and interns to benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience thus boosting further the research and innovation potential of the EU. The scheme will be implemented in collaboration with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities, the European Research Council, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and the Horizon Europe Research Infrastructure programme.

Digital Europe programme

The European Commission will continue to provide training support to Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), including European Universities Alliances, businesses and research and innovation centres through the Digital Europe programme. To support the future deployment of digital technologies across all economic sectors, education programmes and training will be provided to boost the number of ICT specialists in fields such as data science, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, edge computing and virtual worlds and the number of sector specialists equip with advanced digital skills (e.g. medical doctors, experts for the green transition, civil servants). Under the Digital Europe Programme additional calls for support actions were launched, the “Digital Skills and Jobs Platform”, the “Girls and women in digital” and the “Data Space for skills”.

Relevant links

The digital Europe programme

Launch Innovation Talent Platform

  • Completed
  • 21 March 2023

    Launch of the first phase of the Platform

  • Q3 2023

    Launch of the second phase of the Platform

  • Q1 2024

    Implementation phase

In partnership with interested Member States and stakeholders, European Commission will design an EU-wide Innovation Talent Platform, a matching tool to help European businesses, including startups, to find the talents that they are not able to find in the European labour market. This will increase the mobility of skilled individuals towards and within Europe through international recruitment and by supporting matchmaking between EU-based employers and qualified nationals of non-EU countries wishing to work and move legally to the EU.

Stock options

  • Completed
  • 7 December 2022

    Endorsement of the Working Group by the EIC Forum Plenary

  • 28 March 2023

    Kick off meeting and launch of the Working Group

  • March – December 2023

    Working Group progress and report

The European Commission has established a working group on employees’ stock options under the EIC Forum to explore approaches to tackle the administrative barriers that currently limit the uptake of employees’ stock options across the EU. The Forum will in the first instance allow the Commission and Member States to exchange information and share best practice with a view to facilitating a coordinated approach across the EU. 

Establish women leading deep-tech innovation

  • Ongoing
  • 19 December 2023 – 21 January 2024
  • 20 February 2024

    Introductory workshop and mentor speed dating, online

  • 5 March 2024

    Kick-off meeting and launch of the programme

  • May 2024

    Awards Ceremony

To support the role of women in innovation and tech, the European Innovation Council (EIC), in partnership with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) offer a skills enhancement and networking programme for women researchers and entrepreneurs - the Women Leadership Programme (WLP). The programme empowers women to advance in their careers by leading the transition of their research to market, creating their own spin-off or spinouts, or taking over leading positions in existing companies. It helps women entrepreneurs reinforce their leadership role and obtain follow up investments.

The programme consists of joint training sessions, individual personal mentoring and business coaching and networking opportunities. Three cohorts supporting more than 180 participants have been implemented so far. In the third , EIC has partnered with EIT and included in the programme women talents coming from the EIT community. The partnership continues for the fourth cohort, aimed at onboarding women founders, co-founders, and leaders in C-suite positions, taking place between February and May 2024. The programme is confirmed to continue in 2025.

Building on the success from the previous editions of the Women Leadership Programme, the EIC has launched a new fifth cohort, running from April - June 2024.

This 5th WLP cohort is open to EIC female researchers and aspiring female leaders from the EIC Pathfinder and EIC Transition schemes, and is specifically designed to offer the necessary tools and support to enhance their leadership skills

Relevant links

Call for new edition

EIC Women Leadership Programme

Establish a peer learning education and innovation practice community

  • Ongoing
  • October 2022


  • Q3 2024

    End date

The European Commission, in partnership with the OECD, established and is developing a peer learning education and innovation practice community.  To cultivate the competencies needed to drive deep-tech innovation and foster the twin green and digital transition, this Community is contributing to more effective policymaking by spurring innovation in education. Interested stakeholders (education institutions, policymakers and businesses) reflect on a holistic approach towards three strands of work: (i) fostering innovation skills and mindsets from secondary education, (ii) supporting higher education institutions in integrating innovation in their curriculum and (iii) expanding the role of higher education institutions and adult learning providers in up- and reskilling strategies.

Over 900 active members from all EU countries and beyond joint this Community. They participate in info webinars, international knowledge exchange events, national advisory peer learning workshops, providing ideas, suggesting innovative practices through calls for case studies and interviews. For each strand of work, the Community’s activities are summarised into analytical reports and the key findings are described into the innovation bulletins.

Relevant links

Register to join the EIPC network

Read the Innovation Bulletin #1

Read the Innovation Bulletin #2

Extending the EIT Girls Go Circular Project to cover all EU Member States

  • Ongoing
  • June 2023


  • By December 2023

    38.000 girls trained in 24 countries

  • 2024

    End date

The Girls Go Circular Project aims to equip by 2024 40,000 schoolgirls, aged 14-19, across Europe with digital and entrepreneurial skills through an online learning programme about the circular economy. The project’s online learning platform ‘Circular Learning Space’ currently offers 18 learning modules in 16 different languages co-developed by the EIT community. These modules employ a hands-on learning approach, engaging students in online research, entrepreneurial role-plays, and challenge-based exercises. The platform is open to everyone, allowing users to sign up for the courses at any time.

In addition to expanding the project to all EU Member States, innovative learning materials with a focus on deep tech, aligned with the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative, will raise girls’ awareness about deep tech subjects.

To date, over 38 000 girls have been trained in over 24 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg , Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Armenia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.

In 2024, all other EU Member States will follow in order to provide these learning opportunities to girls everywhere in the EU.

Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation

  • Completed
  • 5 December 2023 – 7 March 2024

    Call for proposals launched

  • 2027

    End date

The Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation foster Europe’s innovation capacity through cooperation and flow of knowledge among higher education, vocational education and training (both initial and continuous), and the broader socio-economic environment. These transnational partnerships aim at closing the gaps between academia and industry, providing new skills and innovative teaching approaches for the green and digital transitions. They also intend to support and complement the development of incubators within HEIs, in close cooperation with the entrepreneurial sector and VET, to attract and retain talent and help young innovators turn their ideas into businesses.

From 2023, deep tech skills development has been added as one of the priorities of the Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation. For the 2023 call, 32 projects have been selected and as of January 2024 their work has kicked off in several sectors, including AI, gaming, manufacturing, and deep tech innovation.

The 2024 call for proposals was closed on 7 March 2024 and is under evaluation.

Relevant links

Erasmus+ programme

Member States and Associated Countries actions supporting the New European Innovation Agenda

At the Competitiveness Council in December 2022, following the adoption of Council Conclusions on New European Innovation Agenda (NEIA), the Commission launched a call to governments to announce actions in support of the NEIA. This announcement was based on the understanding that full support and engagement from the Member States and Associated Countries is needed to ensure the implementation of the NEIA. 

The actions were gathered through the EIC Forum, a group of Member States and Associated Countries' public authorities and bodies in charge of innovation policies and programmes, with the aim of promoting coordination and dialogue on the development of the Union's innovation ecosystem.