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EIT selects New Strategic Partnerships: Milestone for Europe in the areas of Health and Raw Materials

Winners of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s (EIT) call for strategic partnerships to boost innovation and tackle health and raw materials challenges in Europe announced

Today, the EIT announced the winners of the call for EIT Health and EIT Raw Materials, integrated European partnerships of higher education, business and research aiming to tackle societal challenges across Europe. "Ageing societies and our dependence on raw materials pose serious challenges to the EU. Science and innovation have a crucial part to play in tackling them. I am therefore very pleased to see the EIT getting these two strategic partnerships underway,” said Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

The winners of the EIT’s 2014 Call for Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) Proposals are the pan-European consortia InnoLife (@EIT_Health) and RawMatTERS (@EIT_RawMaterials), bringing together more than 150 partners from 20 EU Member States. "The outstanding factor behind the decision was the potential of the winners to create innovations needed to address critical challenges for today’s societies. EIT Health and EIT Raw Materials are excellent partnerships that will generate impact, in terms of growth and job creation, which are at the heart of the Europe 2020 Strategy and President Juncker’s Commission top priorities,” said Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director.

Winners bring pan-European impact

InnoLife – winner of EIT Health (healthy living and active ageing) – is a consortium of more than 50 partners (and in addition 90 associate organisations) of leading businesses, research centres and universities from 9 EU countries, including Abbott Laboratories from Spain, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and the University of Oxford from the UK. Dr. Ursula Redeker from Roche Diagnostics GmbH, the key coordinating partner, said “We are thrilled to win the EIT’s call. Our partnership’s goal is to promote entrepreneurship and develop innovations in healthy living and active ageing, providing Europe with new opportunities and resources. We will achieve this by delivering products, services and concepts that will improve quality of life and contribute to the sustainability of healthcare across Europe. Our partners represent top excellence and our outreach activities will spread all over Europe. By 2018, we are aiming to create, among others, 70 start-ups per year and have 1 000 000 students participating in our educational online programmes per year.”

RawMatTERS – winner of EIT Raw Materials (sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution) – brings together more than 100 partners from 20 EU Member States, including the KGHM Polish Copper S.A. from Poland, the RISE Research Institute of Sweden and the University of Milano-Bicocca from Italy. Prof. Jens Gutzmer from Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, the key coordinating partner said “The EIT will enable our partnership to make a real societal change and to turn the challenge of raw materials dependence into a strategic strength for Europe. Our goal is to boost the competitiveness, growth and attractiveness of the European raw materials sector via radical innovation and entrepreneurship. We want to focus on sustainable growth and job creation by boosting start-ups, SMEs and education; and we are the strongest consortium ever created in the raw materials field. By 2022, we are aiming to create, among others, 64 start-ups and 5 new primary/secondary sources of critical raw materials (CRM)”.

“With the support of the EIT and funds from Horizon 2020, these partnerships have a great opportunity to attract the best researchers, students and entrepreneurs. This will be crucial to ensure that they contribute to our efforts to improve Europe’s innovation capacity and competitiveness,” said Commissioner Navracsics.

Up to 4 million EUR from the EIT in the first year

“Our task is now to rapidly launch EIT Health and EIT Raw Materials so that they can deliver innovation and growth", added Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director. In order to facilitate a rapid and smooth start during their first year, the EIT will provide each of the winners with a start-up grant of up to 4 million EUR. The KICs are expected to become fully operational shortly after having signed a seven-year Framework Partnership Agreement with the EIT in 2015.

The EIT will launch the next call for KIC Proposals in 2016 focusing on Food4Future and Added-value Manufacturing with a further call tentatively planned for 2018 addressing Urban Mobility.


EIT to date: 450 business ideas, 215 graduates and growing

The EIT is an independent EU body set up in 2008 to spur innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe to overcome some of its greatest challenges. It brings together leading universities, research labs and companies to form dynamic cross-border partnerships – Knowledge and Innovation Communities, KICs - that develop innovative products and services, start new companies, and train a new generation of entrepreneurs.

The first three KICs on climate change, ICT and sustainable energy were selected in 2009 (Climate-KIC, EIT ICT Labs and KIC InnoEnergy). The EU has decided to expand the EIT’s activities over the 2014 to 2020 period within the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and to increase its budget to € 2.7 billion.

To date, the EIT’s KICs bring together more than 500 leading partners from all over Europe, for the first time fully integrating business, research and higher education. Since 2010, the KICs have incubated more than 450 business ideas and created 75 innovative start-ups. 165 knowledge transfers and adoptions have taken place and 61 new products and services have been launched. The first 215 students have graduated with EIT labelled degree programmes