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EIT Strategy 2021 - 2027

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of EUR 95.5 billion. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

As part of Pillar 3 ‘Innovative Europe’, the EIT contributes to achieving the four key strategic orientations of the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan:

  • strengthening sustainable innovation ecosystems across Europe
  • fostering the development of entrepreneurial and innovation skills in a lifelong learning perspective and support the entrepreneurial transformation of EU universities
  • bringing new solutions to global societal challenges to the market
  • creating synergies and added value within Horizon Europe

The EIT’s legal basis is the EIT Regulation that sets out its mission, its key tasks and the framework for its functioning. The EIT’s strategy, priorities, objectives, key actions, activities, mode of operation, and expected impacts are presented in the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda 2021-2027.


With a budget of EUR 3 billion, the EIT’s new ambitious strategy for 2021 to 2027 focuses on four main elements that reflect the needs of European innovation and will help Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem thrive:

  • Strengthening the impact of its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs): They deliver a wide range of innovation and entrepreneurship activities across Europe from entrepreneurial education to innovation driven research projects to business creation and acceleration services. This support will continue to grow across Europe in the coming years.
  • Boosting the innovation capacity of higher education as part of the EIT HEI INITIATIVE - Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education. The aim is to help higher education institutions (HEI) teach innovation and entrepreneurship by encouraging these institutions to build their capacities and develop concrete actions to increase their impact. Universities will be equipped with the right tools to support innovation across their campuses and beyond.
  • Increasing the regional impact of Knowledge and Innovation Communities: the EIT will strengthen its innovation ecosystem, involving more higher education institutions, businesses and research organisations by developing regional outreach strategies. The selection of cooperation partners and the preparation of EIT Community activities will be more inclusive. EIT KICs will also develop links to Smart Specialisation Strategies, an EU initiative to spur economic growth and job creation by enabling each region to identify and develop its own competitive advantages.
  • Launching new EIT KICs: the EIT will also grow its ecosystem and innovation support to new sectors by creating new EIT KICs, one operating in the field of the Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries with a call for Proposals coming in 2021 and the other on Water, Marine and Maritime Sectors and Ecosystems.

The updated EIT Regulation, focusing on the key principles of the functioning of the EIT and its KICs, ensures greater legal clarity towards Horizon Europe and enshrines the financial sustainability principle for the EIT’s KICs. The EIT’s legal base also introduces a lean and simplified funding model for the EIT designed to encourage additional private and public investment more effectively. Finally, it reinforces the EIT's governing structure.



Find out more about how the EIT Community has been powering talented entrepreneurs and innovators to date:

Success stories    EIT Awards winners