Climate-KIC Innovation Festival: new innovators for climate change

Climate-KIC launched its first annual Innovation Festival during September 2011, in Budapest, Hungary . This landmark event is designed to bring together representatives of the entire Climate-KIC community including its 20 core partners and its 76 affiliate partners with students, alumni, entrepreneurs and innovators keen to respond to the challenges of climate change.
The two day conference explored Climate-KIC’s mission and vision linking it to the European innovation agenda as well as current policy and economic developments at regional and national level.

250 attendees from research, education and business responding to the climate challenge

The Festival represented the first gathering of Climate-KIC stakeholders from public, private and academic sectors, high-level European policy representatives as well as early stage entrepreneurs and students.

Over 250 participants joined together for presentation centered around four plenary sessions:

  • How can Climate-KIC stimulate the innovations needed to deliver the EU’s climate and energy targets?
  • How can Climate-KIC develop entrepreneurial talent?
  • Accelerating Innovation – how can Climate-KIC support the development of climate-related markets?
  • How can Climate-KIC combine global significance with local impact?

Top speakers from the energy and climate-related fields

The Festival opened with a welcome from Dr Zsolt Gemési, representing Climate-KIC’s local Regional Innovation Implementation Community and Dr Ildikó Kovács from the Hungarian National Innovation Bureau.

An inspirational key note presentation from Professor John Schellnhuber followed, highlighting the scientific aspects of climate change and outlining newest research into the devastating impacts of global warming. The Chairman of the EIT Governing Board, Dr Alexander von Gabain, spoke on the EIT and EU Innovation Agenda to a packed audience.

Ennesys and Naked Energy, winners of the Venture Competition, receiving their prize: Euro 15,000 each from Climate-KIC.

Other highlights of the first morning included a lively interactive panel session with students from Climate-KIC’s Educational and Pioneers into Practice mobility programmes. It was clear that their experience from Climate-KIC’s summer school, the Contextual Learning Journey, had impacted their lives in a profound and positive way. Speakers in the afternoon session included representatives from the European Commission and core partners.

Climate-KIC venture competition

The final day of the Festival incorporated a stimulating discussion on how to develop and accelerate climate innovation markets in Europe and globally. The highlight of the morning was the Climate-KIC Venture competition where twelve selected start up companies from across Climate-KIC pitched their proposals to a panel.

The Venture Competition is part of Climate-KIC’s entrepreneurship programme which is aiming at generating more climate-related start-up companies, helping starters grow faster and generating market growth to the businesses. The standard of the content of the presentations was so high that the panel decided to award two first prizes.

The first was Ennesys, a French company that designs and supplies biomass and energy production systems based on high efficient phytoplankton growth systems, fed with CO2 and nutrients contained in waste water. The second prize winner was UK based Naked Energy which has developed a series of on-site renewable energy devices for residential and commercial markets.

Professor Mary Ritter, CEO of Climate-KIC, wrapped up the proceedings with a note of thanks for the local hosts. She said :

“I would like to thank all the participants of this outstanding and stimulating event. I am delighted that so many members of our community have been able to gather together and I look forward to welcoming you all again next year for our Festival in Bologna, Italy”.

View the photos of the events on Flickr