European Innovation Agencies Make Plans to Strengthen Innovation
The European Innovation Council (EIC) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) have signed a letter of intent to coordinate efforts and strengthen Europe’s innovation services, pledging to build a “more integrated and inclusive EU innovation ecosystem for the benefit of EU innovators.”
Potential areas of cooperation are currently being tested in three €1 million pilot projects. The innovation agencies will finalise their collaboration in Spring 2021, before rolling it out in 2022.
The EIC and EIT are complementary organisations, working towards the shared goal of translating Europe’s research strengths into jobs and growth. However, they operate in different ways:
- The EIT focuses on the integration of higher education, research, and innovation to address global challenges set in Horizon Europe. It has eight designated Knowledge and Innovation Communities, each of which addresses a specific societal challenge.
- In contrast, the EIC provides financial support for innovators. Its focus is on all areas of disruptive and breakthrough market-creating innovation.
A closer working relationship between the two institutions will enable companies from underperforming countries to secure more funding. As a result, this will help narrow the innovation gap between east and west Europe.
EU research commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, has labeled the move “a stepping stone in creating the European Innovation Area.” It marks a recognition that European innovation is vital. Innovative ideas key to tackling major societal challenges, including Covid-19 and climate change. They can also help Europe regain its position as a world leader in the field of innovation.
Please note: Negotiations are still ongoing to determine the UK’s participation in Horizon Europe, the EU’s next funding programme for research and innovation. However, UK scientists, researchers, and businesses can still apply for funding from the European Green Deal, the last and biggest call under Horizon 2020. You can read more about this competition here.