23 pilot projects selected by EIT to unlock higher education’s innovation potential in Europe

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has announced 23 winning consortia for the EIT’s HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education Pilot Call for Proposals. 135 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and 140 non-academic organisations from 32 countries will benefit from the EIT’s HEI Initiative and will see up to €27.5 million of funding supporting their innovation capacity.

This new initiative will support HEIs with expertise and coaching, funding and access to the EIT’s innovation ecosystem, Europe’s largest innovation network. The Pilot Call for Proposals invited HEIs and local partners across Europe to design institution-wide action plans to improve their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity across all institutional levels. By supporting such activities, this new EIT initiative will create systemic impact, empowering HEIs and fostering sustainable growth and jobs across Europe.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

 “Universities have a critical role to play in the development and growth of local and regional innovation ecosystems. This new initiative will help them boost their entrepreneurial capabilities at all levels and unlock their innovation potential. I congratulate the selected consortia for putting bold and promising ideas on the table, and now it’s time to step into action and make them a reality!”  

64 consortia representing nearly 750 organisations from across Europe applied to the Pilot Call that closed in May 2021. As a result, 23 projects involving 135 HEIs and 140 non-academic organisations (companies, research centres, public authorities and associations) from 32 countries will benefit from this first call with funding of up to €28 million available. Organisations involved in the selected projects include the Medical University of Plovdiv (BG), University of Pardubice (CZ), Robert Bosch GmbH (DE), Foundation Startup Wise Guys (EE), Universidad de Zaragoza (ES), University of Eastern Finland (FI), Athens University of Economics and Business (GR), University College Dublin (IE) and Confindustria Trento (IT). More details on the selected projects can be found here

EIT Climate-KIC is a partner in the following projects:

HEIght: An initiative of a pan-European consortium of four forward-thinking higher education institutions (HEIs) and one actor from another side of the knowledge triangle, united to cultivate a mutually beneficial and collaborative consortium. It leverages existing innovation and entrepreneurial knowledge of all partners and draws on the resources of HEInnovate to spur on growth of the sustainable innovation in our communities and in our institutions.

CHIC: The Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Nord University; City, University of London; and the University of Split will share their impactful innovation and entrepreneurship capacity-building activities (‘Spark*’, ‘Teaching Entrepreneurial Mindset’, ‘Engineering Ladder’, ‘Museum of Entrepreneurship’, and ‘E3 Initiative’) with the other higher education institutions in the consortium. By sharing these unique entrepreneurship and innovation activities, the consortium will contribute to increasing the entrepreneurial and innovation capacity of the higher education sector across Europe and, consequently, boost sustainable economic growth and competitiveness in the EU.

Inno-EUt+: The Innovative European University of Technology (Inno-EUt+) is a higher education institution (HEI) Initiative project aiming to enhance the innovation and entrepreneurial capacity of a new European university alliance, the European University of Technology (EUt+). The partners of the alliance are already committed to gradually integrating educational and research activities, cocreating opportunities for their staff and student bodies across all campuses of the alliance. EUt+ is about the future and ‘puts humans first’, recognising the roots of their constituents and joint forces while taking into account inclusion, multilingualism and multiculturalism aspects. Together with its non-HEI partners, the Water Alliance (NL) and Chrysalis LEAP (CY), Inno-EUt+ spans across all corners and the heartland of Europe and creates a strong knowledge triangle in order to develop staff and students and transform both its HEIs and the Alliance. 

Gioia Ghezzi, Chair of the EIT Governing Board added: 

“The selected projects will benefit from the expertise and coaching of Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem, the EIT. We are delighted that the EIT could broaden participation of HEIs in our activities and look forward to more European universities becoming regional engines of entrepreneurship and innovation.” 

Each selected pilot project can be awarded a maximum of €1.2 million with up to €400,000 for Phase 1 (July to December 2021) and upon successful completion a conditional €800,000 for Phase 2 (January 2022 to July 2023). Projects 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

A second call for proposals will be announced in late 2021 for projects that will start in 2022. The initiative aims to reach 550 higher education institutions by 2027 to boost European innovation in higher education and support the twin transition towards a more sustainable, digital and competitive Europe.

 
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