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Community activites

EIT Community initiatives are programmes in which KICs come together to develop strategic services, fostering synergies and delivering cost-effective solutions through economies of scale. 

Higher Education Institutions Capacity Building Initiative

The EIT HEI Initiative is a joint activity of the EIT community, coordinated by EIT RawMaterials. It recognises higher education institutions (HEIs) as the pivotal actors in regional and European innovation ecosystems. The EIT HEI Initiative is uniquely designed to enhance the innovation capacity and entrepreneurial mindset of HEIs and foster collaboration between academia, industry, research institutions, public authorities and governmental organisations. Through competitive calls for proposals, the initiative offers non-reimbursable grants to consortia formed by HEIs and their partners to work on innovation and entrepreneurship, but also on other dimensions of strategic interest for Europe, such as deep tech.

Between July 2021 and July 2023, the HEI Initiative launched three cohorts totalling 65 projects, with 23 projects in the first cohort, 26 in the second, and 16 in the third. These projects involve 370 HEIs, and the initiative aims to engage over 500 HEIs by 2027. 

EIT HEI Initiative annual calls for proposals

The EIT’s HEI Initiative organises annual calls for proposals, inviting European higher education institutions to design institution-wide action plans that will improve their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity across all institutional levels. By supporting such activities, the initiative creates systemic impact, empowering HEIs to become regional engines of innovation and foster sustainable growth and jobs across Europe.

The organisations and countries eligible to participate in the Calls for Proposals include:

  • Higher education institutions
  • Public bodies at local, regional or national level
  • Public or private, small, medium or large enterprises
  • Intermediary organisations or associations which represent Higher Education Institutions
  • Research institutions
  • Horizon Europe countries

Projects can focus on several themes, including:

  • Fostering institutional engagement and change
  • Strengthening partnerships between higher education, business and research organisations
  • Developing innovation and business support services
  • Enhancing the quality of entrepreneurial education
  • Creating and disseminating knowledge

Click here to learn more about HEI Initiative