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What does the EIT do?

Although we try to simplify how we explain what the EIT does, it's not easy and it's never enough. With this item, we try again.

Note that this news item is not intended to provide a complete overview of the EIT. It is limited and basic in its nature. You should search the EIT website for more detailed information.

What is the EIT?

Created in 2008, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is a unique EU initiative that spurs innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe with one simple idea: through diversity there is strength.

Based in Budapest, the EIT currently employs just over 60 people to manage a budget of almost EUR 2.4 billion between 2014 and 2020.

The EIT strongly contributes to the objectives set out in Horizon 2020, in particular by addressing societal challenges in a manner that is complementary to other initiatives in these areas.

What does 'address societal challenges' mean?

It's more straightforward than you probably thought. EIT Climate-KIC, for example, was set up to fight climate change. EIT InnoEnergy addresses sustainable energy. EIT Health is there for healthy living and active ageing. Click on each Innovation Community below to read all about them.

KIC, stakeholder, CLC: what are these? 

'KIC' means 'Knowledge and Innovation Community'. It's a bit long, so we have shortened it to 'Innovation Community'. 'Stakeholder' means those persons or groups who have a specific interest or concern in the EIT (the European Commission, for example). 'CLC' means 'Co-location Centre': these are the places set up by each Innovation Community and where activities are carried out. We now call them 'innovation hubs' in an attempt to be clearer. 

Who manages the EIT?

Martin Kern is the EIT's Interim Director, and has been in place 1 August 2014. Martin is responsible for managing the Institute's operations. 

Working closely together in the daily management of the EIT, the EIT Management Team consists of the EIT Director and the Heads of the three Units at the EIT:

  • Partnership Management (Stefano Fontana)
  • Policy and Communications (Mathea Fammels)
  • Services and Finance (Szabolcs Borda)

The EIT Governing Board is the principal governing body of the EIT, entrusted with the role of strategic leadership and the overall direction of the operational activities implemented by the EIT Headquarters. It is independent and autonomous in its decision-making and is responsible for the selection, evaluation and support of the Innovation Communities.

The Governing Board brings together 15 high-calibre members balancing prominent expertise from the higher education, research, business and innovation fields. It consists of 12 Appointed Members and three Representative Members.

What are Innovation Communities?

These are unique partnerships consisting of leading universities, research labs and companies.

What do the Innovation Communities do?

The Innovation Communities:

What Innovation Communities are there?

The Innovation Communities bring ideas to the market, turn students into entrepreneurs and, most importantly, they innovate. There are six Innovation Communities, each of which addresses a particular societal challenge:

  • EIT Climate-KIC: addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • EIT Digital: addressing Information and Communication Technologies
  • EIT InnoEnergy: addressing sustainable energy
  • EIT Health: addressing healthy living and active ageing
  • EIT Raw Materials: addressing sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution
  • EIT Food: putting Europe at the centre of a global revolution in food innovation and production

In 2018, the EIT intends to establish two more Innovation Communities. Find out more about them here.

How can I join an Innovation Community?

Click on the Innovation Community most relevant to you and contact them! 

Where does the EIT's budget go?

Almost all of the budget goes to the Innovation Communities, who use this money to fund start-ups that we all hope will go on to solve the big societal problems Europe (and the world) faces. The EIT provides funding of 25% (on average) of an Innovation Community’s overall resources over the Innovation Community’s lifetime. 

An Innovation Community should attract further funding beyond their partners’ own revenues and resources, such as private and/or public funding at national, regional and EU level, particularly the European Structural and Investment Funds and the Horizon 2020 programme. 

Does the EIT monitor the Innovation Communities?

Absolutely. Just look at this page to learn much more on this subject.

How do I get an 'EIT education'?

Start by looking here. you can take programmes at Master and Ph.D. levels.

What are the EIT's successes

Too many too mention here. You should visit the Newsroom on the EIT website to keep up-to-date on the successes of the EIT Community. As well as this, check out the EIT's social media accounts, and sign up for the monthly newsletter.

But before you do that, look at this success, and this one, and this one too.

I've heard the EIT has awards...

Yes, the EIT does, and you're just in time to read our new, exciting and informative flip book on the 2017 EIT Awards nominees!

You want to know more about the EIT Awards, don't you? So go here.

I want to know more about the EIT, or perhaps ask a question

Browse the EIT website and those of the individual Innovation Communities. If you still have questions, contact us


Catch up with the latest news from the EIT Community in the Newsroom.

Subscribe to the EIT Newsletter to get the best of the EIT Community's news in your inbox once each month.

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