The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is scaling up and consolidating its on-the-ground presence across the Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) by establishing a network of EIT Community RIS Hubs in over 20 countries across Europe.
The EIT RIS is an EIT instrument dedicated to tackling Europe’s persistent innovation divide. By connecting regional actors, innovators, and partners to Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem, the EIT RIS strengthens the innovation capacity of ecosystems in low-innovation performance countries and paves the way for synergies between new networks and local and regional smart specialisation strategies. The EIT RIS is also aimed at attracting and integrating additional participants from the eligible geographical area into the EIT Community’s activities.
A network of over 90 EIT RIS Hubs present in all EU Member States and beyond drive the successful implementation of the EIT RIS. The EIT RIS Hubs have helped the EIT Community to significantly widen its geographical spread. Over 1 300 organisations from the EIT RIS countries have become partners of EIT Innovation Communities while some 2 500 start-up teams from eligible countries were coached and prepared to enter accelerators.
Building on this success, the EIT will now shift focus towards strengthening local-level synergies and ensuring the presence of the EIT Community in every EIT RIS-eligible country and territory by the end of 2025. The first EIT Community RIS Hubs will be launched as pilots, in Latvia and North Macedonia, by the end of 2022.
EIT Community RIS Hubs will differ from the current RIS Hubs by serving as a one-stop-shop for local innovators, partners and interested parties in discovering the whole EIT Community. Through these Hubs, local innovators will be provided with a centralised source of information on all services and opportunities provided by the entire EIT Community, both locally and more widely. They will serve as a gateway to all EIT Innovation Communities, attracting and engaging an increasing number of participants into EIT Community activities. The Hubs will additionally spearhead the EIT Community’s engagement with local authorities, including providing policy support and expertise as required. Where an on-the-ground EIT Community presence already exists, the EIT Community RIS Hubs will consolidate and scale-up ongoing activities and may also implement Joint Innovation Community activities tailored to the local needs. Each hub will be managed by a National Secretary, selected via an Open Call, whose tasks will include: setting up and maintaining a physical space where stakeholders can walk-in to obtain information on the EIT Community; managing the EIT Community Hub’s website, in the local language, with information on EIT Community activities and opportunities; and; facilitating the organisation of EIT Community awareness-raising events locally.
To support the establishment of the new EIT Community RIS Hubs, the EIT has published a set of Minimum Standards and Guiding Principles for the EIT RIS Hubs which will additionally serve as a common strategic approach, underpinning the establishment and operation of all EIT RIS Hubs from 2023.
Since the launch of the EIT RIS in 2014, EIT RIS Hubs have emerged as the backbone of the Scheme’s “place-based” approach. The establishment of this new network of centralised Hubs will serve an important role in the European Commission’s, New Innovation Agenda, contributing to the key objective of accelerating and strengthening innovation in European Innovation Ecosystems across the EU and addressing the innovation divide.
Stay tuned for the EIT announcement for the call to launch the pilot hubs which is due to be published in the next weeks!