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Building engines of innovation: new EIT call launched to boost innovation in Higher Education

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is pleased to announce the EIT HEI Initiative’s new call for proposals supporting up to 40 consortia of higher education institutions (HEIs) and non-academic organisations with a maximum of EUR 1.2 million each. With the support of the EIT Community, Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem, HEIs will design activities that will improve their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity at all levels becoming engines of innovation.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said: ‘'Higher education institutions are at the heart of Europe's innovation and industrial ecosystems. The additional support offered by the EIT Community to boost the innovation capacity of higher education institutions across Europe is fully in line with the Commission's priorities. I look forward to seeing these priorities translated into concrete actions that will help achieve our objectives of supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators that will transform global challenges into opportunities for the future."

Gioia Ghezzi, Chair of the EIT Governing Board added ‘During Europe’s recovery it is more important than ever that our Higher Education Institutions play an even stronger role in helping their students to become innovators and in turning research into concrete solutions.  Boosting innovation capacity in Higher Education is a key priority for the EIT and we already work with hundreds of HEIs through our Knowledge and Innovation Communities. It is therefore only natural that we mobilised Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem to make a systemic impact, improving entrepreneurial and innovation capacity of HEIs. This new call will increase the number of universities we support and will help us to deliver the innovations needed for a more sustainable future.

The EIT HEI pilot initiative builds on the success of its first call launched earlier this year which saw close to 750 organisations from across Europe apply for support. As a result, the pilot awarded 24 projects involving 142 HEIs and 155 non-academic organisations (companies, research centres, public authorities and associations) a total of EUR 28.8 million of funding, mentorship, and access to the EIT’s innovation ecosystem.

For the new call for proposals, up to 40 projects will be selected and awarded a maximum of EUR 1.2 million with up to EUR 300 000 for Phase 1 (July−December 2022) and up to EUR 900 000 for Phase 2 (January 2023 - July 2024). Activities 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.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 28 February 2022. Full details and access to the application portal can be found at

To present the EIT HEI Initiative’s new call in in more detail and answer applicants’ questions a series of webinars will be held. The webinars will cover eligibility requirements, evaluation, administration, and guidance on how to define an Innovation Vision Action Plan. The available dates for the info sessions are:

Download the press release

Find out more about the HEI Initiative in this factsheet