More Press Releases →

International exchange programme to train 140 climate change professionals across Europe

LONDON, UK – 14 APRIL 2016: Recruitment has started for 140 climate change practitioners to participate in Pioneers into Practice, an international exchange programme for professionals. Host organisations across Europe offer four to six week placements to the pioneers.

Both pioneers and host organisations can now apply for the 2016-edition of the annual programme. Pioneers into Practice is organised by the EU’s main climate innovation initiative, Climate-KIC.

The exchange programme – now in its sixth year – is running in eight locations: the United Kingdom, Poland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Hungary, the Helsinki-Uusimaa region in Finland, and the Netherlands.

Kate Martin, Climate-KIC’s Birmingham-based Pioneers Manager Europe said: “The Pioneers into Practice programme enables those at the forefront of climate change innovation and implementation to have the opportunity to work in new environments.”

Selected pioneers are put into new professional contexts to increase the climate impact they have. In previous years, pioneers identified significant savings in CO2 consumption, developed new products and completed small projects – and all the host organisation had to do was make space and time for this to happen.

The international programme is also about forming enduring business relationships across sectors and locations, which last well beyond the lifespan of the exchange. “The diverse mix of backgrounds and expertise is what makes this programme so successful for both the host organisations and the pioneers,” Martin said.

International placements

Successful applicants will start by completing a Climate-KIC e-learning course on system innovation, drawn from best practice across Europe. This is followed by a series of workshops led by expert coaches, which leads into their placement – lasting four to six weeks – in one of the participating locations around Europe.

Participants will also work together on group projects set by organisations from the broader Climate-KIC community, where they can use their collective experience and insight to solve real climate change-related problems.

“They have new experiences and develop new skills, delivering a more effective, creative group of climate change practitioners,” Martin says, “The process generates outstanding levels of innovation, often leading to personal, project and business opportunities that extend well beyond the duration of the programme.”

Hosts are impressed

“We were very impressed with our Pioneer, because he grasped what we wanted very quickly, and he also modified it, he said ‘you should look at this as well’, so he modified the brief using his own knowledge and research, which I was very impressed with,” said Phil Beardmore, Associate at Localise West Midlands, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes local economic solutions for sustainability across the West Midlands region in the UK.

“I mean, if we had paid somebody – how many days of work did he do, 10, 20? I don’t think we would have got anything better,” he added.

Applications may be entered until 3 May for Pioneers and 1 June for Hosts. Applying early is recommended as competition for spaces will be fierce, with only 20 spaces per location available. Pioneers may receive up to €2,000 in compensation to cover travel and accommodation costs while abroad.

*** Notes for Editors ***

Climate-KIC is the EU’s largest public private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero carbon economy. 

We address climate change across four priority themes: urban areas, land use, production systems, and climate metrics and finance. Education is at the heart of these themes to inspire and empower the next generation of climate leaders. 

We run programmes for students, professionals, start-ups and innovators across Europe via centres in major cities, convening a community of the best people and organisations.

Our approach starts with improving the way people live in cities. Our focus on industry creates the products required for a better living environment, and we look to optimise land use to produce the food people need.

Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

For more information visit:

*** Contact ***

For more information about Pioneers into Practice 2016, please contact Kate Martin via

Media contact: Angela Howarth, European Head of Communications, Climate-KIC.  

More Press Releases →