EIT at a glance | European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT)

EIT at a glance

Explore the EIT Community Infographics

Today we face many societal challenges (global warming, youth unemployment, an ageing population and more), but finding solutions to these challenges presents us with great opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship. Europe is perfectly placed to do this, with a wealth of top universities, strong companies, and stable and democratic institutions, along with a pool of highly educated and skilled individuals. The trick is finding a better way to get them to inspire each other, work closely together, learn, innovate and prosper – and this is precisely  where the EIT comes in! It’s about people-driven innovation.

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What does the EIT do? 

Created in 2008, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is a unique EU initiative that spurs innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe with one simple idea: through diversity there is strength. Download the EIT leaflet here.

We bring together leading universities, research labs and companies to form dynamic pan-European partnerships. Together, these unique partnerships, called Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), develop innovative products and services, start new companies, and train a new generation of entrepreneurs. They bring ideas to market, turn students into entrepreneurs and, most importantly, they innovate. The EIT Community puts entrepreneurs and innovators at the heart of our efforts. 

'If someone is interested in the future of Europe, one needs to see ... the EIT. This is exactly the future of Europe.'  

Former European Commission Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen

The EIT’s support helps innovators and entrepreneurs across Europe to turn their ideas into products and services for the market. This is crucial to fulfilling the mission of the EIT: delivering the jobs and sustainable economic growth opportunities that Europe is seeking. The EIT is playing a vital role in helping to increase economic growth and create jobs. 

The EIT is an integral part of Horizon 2020, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Horizon 2020 is a key pillar of the Innovation Union – a Europe 2020 flagship initiative that aims to enhance Europe’s global competitiveness.

What is an EIT ‘Knowledge and Innovation Community’ (KIC)?

KICs bring together businesses (industry and SMEs), research centres and universities as partners, creating a favourable environment for creative thought and innovation to flourish, allowing innovative products and services to be developed in every area imaginable, including climate change, healthy living and active ageing, new companies to be started, and a new generation of entrepreneurs to be trained. They carry out a whole range of activities that cover the entire innovation chain – including training and education programmes, reinforcing the journey from research to the market, innovation projects as well as business incubators and accelerators. KICs have been conceived so that they are able to react in an effective and flexible way to new challenges and changing environments.

There are currently six KICs and each focuses on a different societal challenge: 



  • EIT Health: addressing healthy living and active ageing
  • EIT Raw Materials: addressing sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution


  • EIT Food: addressing sustainable supply chains from resources to consumers

Read more about the KICs here. As part of a KIC, access new partners, facilities, disciplines, industries and cultures through close collaboration with business, education and research.

How can I get involved?

Check out our ‘Activities' and 'Collaborate' pages. Benefit from being part of a European innovation community!

Legal background

The EIT is a body of the European Union based in Budapest, Hungary. It was established by Regulation (EC) No 294/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 and became operational in 2010 at the EIT Headquarters. The EIT currently employs approximately 60 members of staff and its Interim Director since 1 August 2014 is Martin Kern.



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