Open Calls




HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education

A new initiative to unlock the full innovation potential of higher education institutions (HEIs) by increasing their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity while integrating them into Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem

The initiative is a joint EIT Community activity coordinated by EIT Raw Materials. The pilot call for proposals invites European higher education institutions to design institution-wide action plans that will improve their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity across all institutional levels. By supporting such activities, this new EIT initiative will create systemic impact, empowering HEIs to become regional engines of innovation and foster sustainable growth and jobs across Europe.

23 pilot projects will be selected and implemented over 24 months from July 2021. Each pilot project could be awarded a maximum of €1.2 million, with up to €400,000 for Phase 1 (July−December 2021) and up to €800,000 for Phase 2 (January 2022 – July 2023). Activities can focus on several themes, including:

  • Fostering institutional engagement and change
  • Strengthening partnerships between higher education, business and research organisations
  • Developing innovation and business support services
  • Enhancing the quality of entrepreneurial education
  • Creating and disseminating knowledge

The HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education is a key objective for the EIT as part of its new strategy, the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA) 2021-2027. The initiative aims to support higher education institutions with expertise and coaching, access to the EIT innovation ecosystem, and funding, enabling them to develop innovation action plans complementing the needs of individual higher education institutions.

Call to Action

The pilot projects will be selected through a competitive evaluation and selection process. To be considered for selection, the applicant/coordinator must submit an application on behalf of the consortium as a response to this Pilot Call for Proposals. Applications will be assessed against the eligibility criteria and reviewed by independent evaluators against the evaluation criteria.

HEIs must submit their applications on the HEI Initiative Application Portal ( deadline for submitting proposals is 25 May 2021, and the selected pilot projects will be announced in June 2021.


  • Call opening …………..24 March 2020, 12:00CET
  • Call closing …………….25 May 2021, 23:59 CET

Events & information sessions:

  • Informative webinars for the Pilot Call for Proposals – 2nd and 3rd week April 2021


For full eligibility criteria, please see the Call document.

Applications will be checked for formal requirements by the EIT HEI Project Management Team to ensure eligibility criteria are fulfilled. Proposals will then be evaluated against the selection criteria by a minimum of 3 independent external experts per proposal, and then ranked according to their quality score.

To be eligible for participation and funding, a participant must be a ‘legal entity’. A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.

Beneficiaries and affiliated entities must register in the EU Participant Register before submitting their application, in order to get a participant identification code (PIC).

The following organisations are eligible for participation and funding:

  • Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) – HEIs must hold a valid Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) with its affiliated entities (if any) as full or associated
  • Public or private, small, medium or large enterprises (including social enterprises)
  • Research institutes
  • Public bodies at local, regional or national level
  • Intermediary organisations or associations which represent Higher Education Institutions



Cross-KIC Circular Economy

Strengthening collaboration across EIT Community for a climate-neutral Europe

Transitioning to the Circular Economy is one of the main objectives of European society right now. Moving to more circular economic models promises a much brighter future for the European economy. This will allow Europe to rise to the current and future challenges of global pressure on resources and increasing insecurity of supply. Pumping resources back into productive use, cutting waste and reducing dependence on uncertain supplies is a direct route to improving resilience and competitiveness. By helping to decouple economic growth from resource use and its impacts, it offers the prospect of sustainable growth that will last.

The EIT Community will be one of the key stakeholders ensuring this important objective for European society. This will only be achieved with a coordinated and efficient collaboration among the different EIT KICs (Knowledge and Innovation Community) to ensure a greater impact from the Cross-KIC collaboration.

EIT RawMaterials, EIT Digital, EIT Climate KIC, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing and EIT UrbanMobility have created a Cross-KIC action to strengthen the collaboration of internal and external activities related to the Circular Economy. The Cross-KIC circular action includes two specific calls described below.


Calls to Action

Cross-KIC Call on Environmental Technology Verification (ETV)

Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) is a tool designed to help innovative environmental technologies access the market. It consists of the verification, on a voluntary basis, of the functional and environmental performance of technology by qualified third parties, through tests of controlled quality. The end product is an ETV Statement of Verification published on the ETV website and used in business-to-business relations. This enables technology owners to document the reliability of their claims and differentiate them from competitors, and it helps technology purchasers identify innovations that suit their needs.

ETV is implemented by accredited Verification Bodies in three technology areas:

  • Water treatment and monitoring (e.g., monitoring water quality, treatment of drinking water and wastewater)
  • Materials, waste and resources (e.g., separation and sorting of solid waste, recycling of materials, end-of-life products and chemicals, biomass-based products)
  • Energy (e.g., renewable energy, energy generated from waste, energy efficiency)

The call is open to any partner and start-up of participating EIT Community (EIT RawMaterials, EIT Climate KIC, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing and EIT UrbanMobility) with a technology included in any of the previously defined areas that has been supported in any ongoing or finished demonstration project.

A webinar defining main aspects of the call and ETV requirements will be organised on 29 April from 10.30 to 12.00 CEST.


  • Short introduction of the Cross-KIC Circular Economy Project and the ETV Support call
  • ETV description: Izabela Ratman (ETV Expert)
  • ETV Secretariat: Martin Pecanka 
  • Questions & Answers 

Click here to register.


Cross-KIC Call on Circular SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy, steering our economy towards a more circular model. However, their small size means that they face unique challenges on the path to closing loops and improving resource efficiency. 

Some of those unique challenges can be linked to lack of company environmental culture, financial support, adequate legislation, innovation legislation and support mechanisms, information and many others.

The six KICs involved in this Cross-KIC initiative are a diverse set of publicly and privately funded bodies uniquely positioned to tackle the above barriers for the circular economy adoption by SMEs. The overall aim of this call is to enable the joint competencies and capacities of the KICs to help solve a more systemic circularity in an orchestrated effort as well as possible specific approaches towards circularity in SMEs.

Partners of participating KICs are invited to submit an application for the work on the development of an in-depth analysis covering the following topics:

  • Investigation of the current situation regarding Circular Economy and SMEs in Europe considering mainly those sectors covered by the participating KICs.
  • Investigation of main barriers hampering Circular Economy implementation in SMEs and potential measures to overcome those barriers, including EIT Community activities.
  • Investigation and analysis of current activities carried out by participating KICs to support Circular Economy implementation in SMEs and estimation of efficiency.
  • Clear and detailed proposal for both how to improve current support activities and new possible actions considering individual EIT KICs but mainly joint actions from Cross-KIC projects.
  • Clear analysis of how those support activities should be coordinated with other initiatives to avoid overlapping and increase efficiency.
  • The project should create an advisory board composed of relevant experts and SMEs representatives providing advice to the project development.

All existing partners of participating EIT Community (EIT RawMaterials, EIT Climate KIC, EIT Digital, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing and EIT UrbanMobility) are eligible to apply.


Deadline (both Calls)

Calls opening …………..1 April 2021

Calls closing …………….. 31 May 2021



For full details of eligibility criteria for each Call, please see the relevant Call document.


How to apply (both Calls)

These calls are a 1-stage submission process: the submission a full proposal followed by assessment and decision outcome.


To apply for any of the three Calls:

  • read the relevant Call to Action and Guidelines 
  • speak to a relevant KIC about the proposal that you are preparing (see contact in the Call to Action and Guidelines documents)
  • submit your application as per the Call guidelines instructions.


Cal to Action & Guidelines, and Application Forms:

Supporting documents: