The EIT is a proud member of the EU family. We are a swift and flexible EU body that operates independently of the EU institutions and has its own legal personality. Nonetheless, we cooperate closely with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, and other EU Agencies and bodies.
The European Commission plays a major role in the strategic and daily work of the EIT. The Commission appoints the members of our Governing Board and designates an observer to take part in their meetings. Commission staff also work with us on a day-to-day basis to ensure fluid communication and coordination. Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, whose portfolio covers innovation, research, culture, education and youth, is our key partner in the College of Commissioners. The Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture is our main interlocutor on the institutional level.
The EIT maintains close relations with other branches of the Commission as well. In 2016, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Commission’s Joint Research Centre covering regional development, education and skills, and knowledge management. In January 2021, another MoU was signed with the European Innovation Council (EIC), part of the Directorate General for Research and Innovation, to ensure the complementarity of our work to support innovators and entrepreneurs across Europe.
Our Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) also work closely with the European Commission to inform policymaking and better align with EU priorities. For example, EIT Health and EIT Food have set up Policy Advisory Boards that include high-level Commission representatives to ensure their complementarity with EU leadership and goals. The EIT’s KICs also contribute to and lead critical EU initiatives such as the Strategic Energy Technology Plan, the European Battery Alliance, Digital Education Action Plan, and the European Raw Materials Alliance.
The European Parliament is another key stakeholder and partner of the EIT. Two parliamentary committees have a particularly large stake in our work: the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT). ITRE is responsible for EU research and innovation policy and the activities of various research-related institutions, including the EIT. CULT, on the other hand, is responsible for cultural and educational policy, including policymaking for the cultural and creative industries.
The Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) also has an important bearing on our work. It is responsible for controlling and monitoring the correct use of the EU budget. Its members scrutinise the implementation of the EU budget by and lead the annual discharge of all EU institutions and bodies, including the EIT. Finally, the Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) deals with issues close to our work. The Panel is composed of 27 Members of the European Parliament who are nominated by 10 permanent committees of the EP. Their primary mission is to offer European policy-makers impartial and accessible information about developments in science and technology.
Council of the EU
The Council of the EU negotiates and adopts legislative acts and coordinates Member States’ policies. Its Working Party on Research is an important preparatory body that discusses research and innovation-related programmes and instruments, including the EIT. At the invitation of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, our Director has participated in a number of Working Party on Research meetings to present the EIT’s activities and achievements.
European Innovation Council (EIC)
The European Innovation Council (EIC) and EIT are working together to strengthen our cooperation to support the best European entrepreneurs. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the beginning of 2021 which paved the way to strengthen the support that the EIC and EIT are already providing to thousands of innovative start-ups and SMEs to scale up in Europe and ensure mutual access to advisory services and networks.
This cooperation has already allowed us to fast-track support to highly innovative start-ups, and many more actions are in the pipeline.
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)
The EIT and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), signed an agreement in 2020 that brings together innovation and intellectual property (IP) for the benefit of European small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). For the EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), this agreement has proved to be an excellent opportunity to increase SME and the KICs innovation activities and knowledge on IP to fully benefit from the protection that IP brings in the global market. Also, under the umbrella of this collaboration, the EIT and the EUIPO coordinate their efforts in terms of enhancing mutual visibility through communication channels and events, awareness raising and educational and training activities on IP and support measures for the EIT KICs innovative SMEs to boost their innovation and creativity potential and improve the understanding of the benefits that IP can provide. Moreover, EIT and the EUIPO jointly disseminates good practices relating to the IP from the EIT Community, for instance publication of success stories of Elahne, Meva Energy and Minesto by the EUIPO.
By joining forces on IP management we have created links with the EUIPO and several KIC programmes, such as EIT Health, Jumpstarter and InnoStars, Skills for the Future and Girls Go Circular and started structurally embedding IP into the EIT and KICs’ activities, through which over 800 participants in have benefited since 2021. For more details from 2021, please visit the factsheet here. Cooperation between the EUIPO and EIT will continue with the new Higher Education Initiative.
As both organisations play a complementary role in supporting SMEs, entrepreneurs and the European economy as a whole, the EIT and the EUIPO will identify further areas of cooperation to support SMEs through continued collaboration among the KICs, including the new KIC on Culture and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI) and exploring possible synergies with other components of Horizon Europe Programme.