KICs bring together different people working together across the innovation web. Key actors include: businesses (including SMEs); entrepreneurs; research and technology organisations; higher education institutions; investment communities (private investors and venture capital); research funders, including charities and foundations; local, regional and national governments.
According to the EIT Regulation, the activity of a KIC must involve at least three independent partner organisations. The partners must be established in at least three different EU Member States and must include at least one higher education partner and one private company. With the intention of strengthening the innovation capacity, KICs may also include non-Member State partners.
KICs have substantial overall autonomy to define their internal organisation and composition, which must, nevertheless, be aligned to its objectives and the needs of the partners. The status could vary from a consortium agreement to an independent legal entity, but must be consistent with financing requirements and operational autonomy.
The EIT aims to create a new European way to deliver essential economic growth through innovation. The KICs as the operational parts of the EIT have to foster innovation in order to…
By fostering world-class innovation, KICs will increase the competitiveness in Europe. Around us innovation is thriving more effectively than in Europe. We can, and must, learn from the world beyond Europe, notably from the USA and the BRIC countries. Europe is still lagging in terms of competitiveness, economic growth and entrepreneurship compared with our major competitors in the global knowledge society. KICs address long-term societal challenges as well as identifying and tackling new opportunities for innovation in Europe.
Innovation is a vital driver of sustainable growth and a key component of the response to global and societal challenges. By producing new innovations and new innovation models of excellence, the KICs tackle key societal challenges. In defining the themes for the first 2 or 3 KICs, the EIT Governing Board has decided to focus on the global and societal challenges of sustainable energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation and the future information and communication society.
The KICs operate in an open environment, driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence and impact for Europe. This focus within the KICs will produce the critical mass to deliver new business creation, new jobs, new skills and entrepreneurial talents into the job market.
Europe’s need for highly skilled and entrepreneurial graduates, in particular Masters and PhDs, will continue to grow in the years ahead. Europe not only needs employees but also future employers and entrepreneurs. Higher education institutions within the KICs will focus on developing curricula that give students the knowledge, personal development and the research and entrepreneurship skills consistent with the broad employability demand.
Major changes in governance, curricula content and learning and teaching methods, in particular problem solving and ‘learning by doing’, are required within Europe’s universities. Through the KICs, the EIT has the opportunity to contribute strongly to on-going developments in this area.
Degrees and diplomas awarded by higher education institutions in the context of the KICs should be identified with the EIT ensuring the prestige of clearly identified excellence. The KICs' educational activities will become role models for Europe’s universities and joint degrees, such as those within the Erasmus Mundus programme, will be particularly encouraged.
The EIT is encouraging KICs to develop entrepreneurial skills, cultures and governances to boost new business creation. The development of KIC-specific instruments will contribute to the success and consolidation of the KICs. These will include amongst many activities an entrepreneurship academy and an entrepreneurship award aimed at higher education institutions.
The KICs include among their partners leading European universities. They will take a lead role in introducing innovative approaches to graduate education, by developing new European masters, doctoral and post-doctoral curricula, integrating scientific progression and depth with a strong entrepreneurial profile and multi-disciplinary skills. Such an approach is relevant not only to technical universities; entrepreneurial educational programmes in medicine, social sciences, humanities and arts are also needed to create new learning outcomes and interdisciplinary skills. The new approaches will reflect the diversity of actors in the innovation web.
For the first time, all the stakeholders in the innovation web - industry, higher education, research and technology institutes and entrepreneurs - will be brought together with a common goal: a positive social and economic impact for Europe, to be measured in terms of new business creation in existing industries and SMEs, creation of new businesses, job creation and the education and delivery of a new generation of entrepreneurs. Innovative approaches will help existing European industries and SMEs to prosper, whilst also generating new businesses, updating skills, creating new jobs and developing exciting new entrepreneurial talent.
The core activities of the KIC will bring together the innovation web to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, through entrepreneurship education, co-location, top quality leadership and management, combined with simplicity and a ‘CAN DO’ approach.
Co-location of team members from diverse backgrounds is an essential notion in the establishment of the KICs. A co-location centre is a geographical location where all or a large part of the innovation web can be found in close proximity. By bringing together geographically separated people, co-location builds the collaborative activities of the KIC partners into regional or national centres of excellence.
Working face-to-face amongst people from organizations with different roles in the innovation chain will foster knowledge transfer in the most effective way. A co-location centre is a lead node in the network of participating nodes making up the KIC, bringing together people from different organizations, sectors, disciplines and countries, united by common strategic objectives. Typically each KIC has 4-6 co-location centres, each one potentially associated with a subtheme of the overall theme of the KIC.
Through the promotion of new interactions between all the actors in the innovation web, the co-location centres will build on excellent regional clusters and raise them to international levels of competitiveness. Such centres will become attractive breeding-grounds for new ideas and interactions, consolidating and accelerating the innovation process.
The KICs need to be run with a clear business mindset capable of taking decisions that engage the entire partnership swiftly and effectively to achieve world-class capability and new business impact. That includes high quality management with strong leadership and direction (for example CEO, CFO) devoted full-time to develop strategy, ensure delivery of milestones and outputs and facilitate day-today operation of the organisation. KICs also provide clear organisation and collaboration rules (including entry-exit rules) as well as a monitored business plan focused on deliverables with targeted investment returns and drivers identified upfront leading to relentless focus on results.
An effective and flexible governance structure enables rapid decision making committing all KIC members. KICs adopt shared short-, mid-, and long term targets, performance indicators and milestones for their activities. A strong outreach programme, for example to attract new partners, to develop and support clusters of SMEs around KIC nodes and to engage public interest in technology and non-technology-driven innovation and its importance in delivering Europe’s economic and social future is of utmost importance for the KICs.
The aim of the KICs' IPR (intellectual property rights) policy is to create an entrepreneurship friendly environment. KICs must therefore establish a motivating IPR policy, defining principles for the ownership of IP and access right respecting EU rules. Each KIC defines an appropriate internal policy governing the rights (e.g. assignment) and obligations of researchers and students involved in mobility.
The KIC also negotiates in good faith to licence IP to interested EU and non EU parties and to optimise the exploitation and uptake of KIC knowledge and technologies, bearing in mind the business goals of the KIC parties and the EIT goal of boosting EU competitiveness and innovation. In order to manage knowledge transfer and IP issues, each KIC must set up an IP Board responsible for this.
European Institute of
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