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Insights from Hello Tomorrow Global Summit

The EIT Community brings together entrepreneurs, industry and academia to make innovation happen. With a focus on Deep Tech, the community attended the buzzing Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in Paris. 

Here are some highlights for anybody who was not able to attend.

Session: 'Boosting deep tech in Europe – staying on top with EIT'

As the leader of the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative (DTTI), Natalie Cernecka from EIT Manufacturing moderated a session on 'Boosting deep tech in Europe'. The DTTI has the goal of training one million people in deep tech until 2025 and has already trained almost 150 000. Launched by the EIT as part of the EU's New Innovation Agenda, the programme unites corporations and academia in creating and running the deep tech courses and trainings.

Listening to different perspectives: Michał Dżoga, Lena Weirauch, Mark Boris Andrijanič and Natalie Cernecka (from left to right).

Training needed

As part of the panel, Intel's Michał Dżoga brought the perspective of the semiconductor industry. He recounted that while 30 years ago, the EU and US together produced 80% of the semiconductors worldwide, twenty years later, this has dwindled to a mere 20%. As part of the Deep Tech Talent Initiative, Intel will offer its Intel Digital Readiness Programmes to train Europeans in AI to bring this statistic back to a more balanced level.

Regulators challenged

Mark Boris Andrijanič, Member of the EIT Governing Board and the VP of Kumo.AI, compared the EIT - the largest European innovation ecosystem - to Silicon Valley. He advocated fuelling Europe with talent and pointed out that in China, the number of STEM graduates was twice that of the US and Europe combined. Generating European was therefore as important as opening Europe to talent from all over the world. 

AI as a tool for development

As a CEO, Lena Weirauch in principle finds herself in a good position to hire talent for her start-up, located in Hamburg. She is currently looking for a Head of AI and sees that ai-omatic solutions GmbH competes with other corporations, which can be an issue when company culture sometimes does not beat salary opportunities. She believes start-ups should think creatively on how artificial intelligence could support them and develop their companies.

Side event 'Boosting deep tech in Europe'.

In a side event dedicated to 'Boosting deep tech in Europe', Patricia Paulina Karrer welcomed guests who shared their take on skills, requirements and the appeal of deep tech start-ups to investors.

'Empowering tech entrepreneurs: industry driven skills for success'

In his keynote, Mathias Kaldenhoff (SAP) stated that the basis of any technological innovation was communication. Any progress, he explained, requires that we express ourselves, what we perceive, do, feel. Our skills in technology rested on four columns: the world around us, the world within us, the world before us (referring to the future), and ourselves in the world.

As everything, skills could only be perceived when they are communicated. After all, he said, you could only be famous for something if you have visibility.

From his perspective, the EIT approach combined technological abilities with skill requirements and makes people visible in both areas: they helped people show their innovations and communicate with people who are outside their bubble.

Thus the EIT and its innovation hubs bridged the gap between research and technology to somebody who would use the material, product or service. Connections to the EIT ecosystem had given him insights he’s never had before in sustainability, decarbonisation, recycling, and more.

Bridging the gap: Matching talent with deep tech requirements

With our initiatives, we turn theory into practice, practice into outcome, and outcome into impact.

Patricia Paulina Karrer from EIT Manufacturing

Patricia Paulina Kerrer acted as a host of the session and moderated the panel on empowering deep tech talent at Hello Tomorrow Global Summit. Here are some thoughts from her guests.

Hard skills are not enough

Mateusz Molasy, Assistant Professor with Wrocław University of Science and Technology, explained that universities taught students hard skills, such as physics and maths, and soft skills, such as how to work in a team, cooperate and collaborate, and work in intercultural environments to support innovation. They also teach an interdisciplinary approach to connect people from various disciplines and hands-on learning.

Universities need to step up

Wrocław University of Science and Technology specifically helps students gain visibility and offers individual support, organised networking events with international speakers in which they meet with industry representative. The university also developed online innovation training, takes part in innovation projects with EIT Raw Materials and EIT Manufacturing and has created a solutions database for open innovations.

EIT Community initiatives as opportunity

Vera Martinho, Chief Impact Officer from JA Europe, described the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative as a good opportunity to bring deep tech closer to a younger generation. As the largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes with solid connections to educational systems, they train young people from primary to high school in entrepreneurship to make them ready for the job market. She emphasised one could not ask people for qualifications in deep tech when they enter universities if they were never taught. 

Beyond this, JA Europe also collaborates with EIT Girls Go Circular, EIT Health, EIT Food and EIT Manufacturing to foster innovation in their sectors.

Best practice: EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative

Ilaria Tagliavini, Head of Operations at EIT, explained how EIT bridges the gap with the DTTI, in which companies and universities commit to training people in deep tech. Launched last year, more than 130 organisations have committed to training more than 800 000 people. She encouraged attendants to look out for the DTTI Call for proposals through which the creation of training programmes can be funded.

Embrace AI

Mathias Kaldenhoff pointed out that artificial intelligence is interesting not only for industry and our nations, but also for the EU community. He is convinced Europe must be on top and is optimistic as AI will be used in any process: 'in Europe, we are good in processes'. If Europe changes human thinking to AI-influenced human thinking, Europe will succeed.

'Cracking the code: VC insights into deep tech investment criteria'

Last, but not least, Patricia Paulina Karrer explored a venture capitalist’s view on investment into deep tech in a conversation with Tobias Weissgerber.

Have a USP

Tobias noted that the first thing he looked at in a start-up when evaluating whether it’s worth investing is a technical USP that really sets the company apart. He also looked at the stage the companies are in as well as the market factored. 'Do they have machines?' he asked. 'Did they already manage to secure funding? Do they have customers already that they talk to?' If the people he talked to were rooted in technology, he also evaluated how well they could communicate their solution and sell it.

Be able to sell

Tobias took the view that the current hot topics attracting investment are applications and solutions in the life sciences, new energy such as fusion or solar, and everything to do with e-mobility and e-charging such as batteries, cell production or recycling. All of these, he predicts, will be interesting in the next five to ten years. His advice to entrepreneurs is to obtain financial skills.

The EIT Community’s INNOVEIT will next be at Greentech Festival in Berlin from 15 to 17 May. 

For more information go to the

INNOVEIT website