The Member States of the European Union are crucial stakeholders of the EIT. We work hand in hand with national, regional and local authorities to generate innovative products and services, propel trail-blazing ventures forward, and train the next generation of European innovation leaders.
EIT Member States' Representatives Group
The main platform for cooperation between the EIT and EU Member States during 2014-2020 was the EIT Member State Configuration (MSC). The Configuration was comprised of representatives from EU Member States, as well as Norway and Switzerland, members of the EEA-EFTA and EFTA, respectively. MSC members met annually to discuss the EIT’s achievements, provide constructive input into the EIT’s work, and ensure complementarity between the EIT Community’s activities and national programmes. Members of the MSC were also regularly updated on developments and opportunities within the EIT Community to enable synergies with national and regional initiatives.
As of 2021, in line with the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda for 2021-2027, the EIT will reinforce its engagement with Member States. The EIT Member State Configuration will be renamed to the EIT Member State’s Representatives Group (MSRG), which will advise both the EIT Governing Board and the EIT Director.
National Contact Points
National Contact Points (NCPs) are support structures that have become an essential component in the implementation of successive EU Research and Innovation Framework Programmes. A system of NCPs has been established for Horizon Europe, including for the first time an ‘EIT NCP’ in each Member State and Associated Country.
NCPs provide information and on-the ground advice to potential applicants and beneficiaries, through the project life cycle, in their own language, in a manner that would be impossible for the EIT and its KICs to do alone. Combined with the EIT KIC Co-location Centres and RIS Hubs, they are expected to act as an important multiplier for stakeholders on the ground, increasing awareness about what EIT is about as well as opportunities offered by the EIT Community at local and EU level.
Horizon Europe Associated Countries
Horizon Europe, the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation, allows third countries to gain access to its actions and funding through an arrangement called association. Associated Countries conclude agreements with the EU to join the framework programme as partners. The conclusion of the majority of association agreements for Horizon Europe is expected within 2021. The EIT has worked closely with the Associated Countries to Horizon 2020, the EU’s previous framework programme for research and innovation, through programmes such as the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (EIT RIS), the EIT Global Outreach, and broad integration into the EIT Community’s activities. The EIT will continue this close cooperation with Associated Countries in full alignment with Horizon Europe provisions. As of 2021 and fully in line with the European Commission Western Balkans Agenda on Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, the EIT Community will enhance cross-sectoral cooperation to tackle common challenges in the Western Balkan region.
Here is a glimpse of the EIT's cooperation with Associated Countries under Horizon 2020:
- In the framework of EIT RIS, several EI KICs work with partners from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia and Serbia, while EIT Hubs have been established in the latter.
- In December 2019, as part of the EIT's global outreach, the EIT launched a hub in Tel Aviv to support EU priorities in Israel.
- In 2018, Belgrade hosted an EIT Awareness Day to facilitate networking with the EIT Community.
Memoranda of Understanding
To sharpen its engagement with EU Member States considered to be modest and moderate innovators, the EIT offers the possibility of forging structured bilateral cooperation agreements, in the form of MoUs, with individual governments that express an interest. These MoUs serve as a platform for enhanced bilateral cooperation, joint activities, and national co-financing of EIT KIC activities. Through the process of forging these agreements, EU Member States and the EIT can align with one other’s strategic priorities and enhance innovation at the national and regional levels. The MoUs are implemented through jointly drawn-up annual Action Plans, which establish a detailed path forward in terms of timelines and indicators for measuring success. So far, the EIT has signed MoUs with four EU Member States. Numerous additional MoUs are currently under consideration.