Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Global challenges need urgent solutions, and that is why the EIT was created:

  • to help Europe compete. This is needed more than ever, with Europe’s future connected to its power to innovate. The EU is facing an ‘innovation emergency’ with its global economic ranking changing rapidly. Europe’s share of world GDP has shrunk from almost 30% in 2006 to less than 22% in 2016. The EIT enhances Europe’s ability to innovate.
  • to tackle global challenges from climate change and sustainable energy to healthy living and raw materials dependency. We help deliver on Europe’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and each EIT Innovation Community is dedicated to one of these topics.
  • to change the innovation culture in Europe. We help innovators turn their best ideas into reality. We create growth and jobs for Europe and improve the lives of citizens across Europe.

The EIT was established by the European Parliament and Council in 2008 and functions as an independent institute.

The EIT’s innovation model is a uniquely European way to leverage innovation support and funding across the EU. By working with leading organisations and intensifying their collaboration in EIT Innovation Communities, EIT activities train young entrepreneurs, incubate young companies, encourage business and education partnering across Europe and generate innovative products and services that European society needs.

The EIT’s Headquarters are in Budapest, Hungary. There is also an EIT Liaison Office in Brussels, Belgium.

The EIT and its Innovation Communities have Innovation Hubs and activities across Europe. You can find these on the map.

The EIT has created eight Innovation Communities that bring together over 1 000 partners from leading business, education and research organisations across Europe. The EIT Community has

  • supported more than 1 217 business ideas
  • powered over 1 260 innovative start-ups and scale ups
  • generated more than 640 new products and services brought to the market
  • educated a new generation of entrepreneurs with over 1 700 graduates from its entrepreneurial education programmes
  • created more than 6 100 jobs
  • raised more than EUR 890 million in external investment

As well as this, the EIT has set up activities for budding and established entrepreneurs and innovators across Europe, such as EIT higher education programmes, business creation and acceleration services, innovation driven research projects as well as outreach programmes, including the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (EIT RIS).

Read about some of the successes of the innovation communities

 

The EIT’s Innovation Communities are the EIT’s operational arms. They bring together Europe’s leading business, education and research organisations to find solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges, from climate change to the sustainable supply of raw materials. They run activities to empower entrepreneurs and innovators to turn their best ideas into new products and services for Europe.

The activities of the Innovation Communities:

  • Develop innovative products and services
  • Start new companies
  • Train a new generation of entrepreneurs

Each Innovation Community is an independent legal entity with its own management board and internal organisational structure. An Innovation Community focuses on a specific challenge, now ranging from the development of sustainable energy sources to encouraging active ageing or sustainable food.

Each sets its own strategic objectives, business plan and governance. It uses the central EIT funding as seed money to leverage existing investments and attract investors. Each one holistically builds innovation ecosystems across Europe through a portfolio of activities addressing the identified societal challenges and integrates Europe’s leading players in education, research and business. Ultimately, each delivers results and achieves impact.

Read more about the relationship between the EIT and the Innovation Communities here.

The 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 12 members balancing prominent expertise from the higher education, research, business and innovation fields. 

The European Commission, represented by the Directorate General for Education and Culture, is an observer to the EIT Governing Board.

The current Chair of the EIT Governing Board is Dirk Jan van den Berg. Dirk Jan was elected Chair in July 2018. Click here to read more about Dirk Jan and the other members of the EIT Governing Board.

The EIT Director leads the EIT Management Team and oversees the day-to-day work of the EIT, implementing its Multiannual Strategy and Annual Work Programme.

Martin Kern has been the interim Director of the EIT since 2014. He is responsible for leading the activities of Headquarters and coordinating collaboration among the Innovation Communities.

Downloads: Biography of Martin Kern and his photo.

The EIT is funded by the European Union through the Horizon 2020 programme, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 2014-2020.

The budget for the EIT between 2014 and 2020 is approximately EUR 2.4 billion.

Click here for further information on the EIT funding model.

The EIT funds Innovation Communities up to a maximum of 25 per cent. This funding is leveraged by the EIT by incentivising Innovation Community partners to invest in innovation and provide the remaining 75 per cent funding needed for their activities. With the 25 per cent seed funding, the EIT enables the Innovation Communities to attract capital from industrial partners and private investors.

The amount of funding that the EIT spends on administration at the EIT Headquarters is less than 5 per cent of its budget.

Read about the EIT's Innovation Communities and check out their websites for all their educational, entrepreneurial, partnership and research opportunities:

Attend INNOVEIT, the EIT’s flagship annual event, to meet and talk to the experts. See you next time!

An Innovation Community knits together different sectors, countries and disciplines. Physically, how is this done? The Innovation Hub is an EIT invention – and one of the EIT’s primary characteristics.

Innovation Hubs are the main instrument for managing activities and knowledge flow. Each Innovation Community has regional Innovation Hubs with partners in close proximity, which is essential to facilitate interaction among members of the regional community. Innovation Hubs are the focal point for the Innovation Communities’ activity within these areas of focus. Innovation Hubs build on the existing labs, offices or campuses of some of the Innovation Community’s core partners, which serve as clusters for a particular region, discipline or task. There they bring together people and teams from across the knowledge triangle to come up with ideas, projects and other initiatives.