Boosting Climate Innovation in European regions with modest to moderate innovation rates

Introduced in 2014, the Regional Innovation Scheme was created by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)  to bridge the existing innovation gap between different European countries. The programme stemmed from a structured outreach scheme for all EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) to support the integration of the so-called Knowledge Triangle (research, education and innovation), and increase innovation capacity in regions with little pre-established presence to tackle the climate emergency. 

The EIT Climate-KIC Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) is our flagship initiative active in Southern, Central and Eastern European countries where we do not operate through office structures. It facilitates connectivity with our established innovation HUBS, ensuring EIT Climate-KIC’s pan-European reach and boosting climate innovation capacity across the continent. 

TThe EIT RIS programme is designed as a long-term initiative to strengthen the national and regional innovation ecosystems of countries that are moderate and modest innovators, based on the EU Innovation Scorecard. Our goal is to stimulate low carbon innovation in countries, regions, and cities across Europe, and significantly boost local capacity to implement the highest impact ideas, while reinforcing synergies and complementarities with EU, national, regional innovation initiatives and funding sources. It is a strategic instrument to target the climate mitigation and adaptation needs and challenges while enabling regional development. 

The programme offers a concrete way to design, build and deliver mission-oriented portfolios of interconnected programmes on skills development and learning, entrepreneurship and innovation to catalyse fast decarbonisation, deliver future-proof jobs, generate new markets aligned to 1.5º and drive forward adaptation and resilience. 

14 RIS Hubs
50 RIS Partners
58 Innovation projects lead by RIS partners
448 start-ups involved in 14 RIS Accelerator locations
+7000 stakeholders actively involved

EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda

The new EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda 2021-2027 acknowledges the Regional Innovation Scheme as a key area of action for the EIT.  Activities supported through the EIT RIS aim to deliver on the following objectives:

  • Improve the innovation capacities of the local ecosystem via capacity-building activities and closer interactions between the local innovation actors (such as, clusters, networks, regional public authorities, Higher Education Institutions, research organisations, Vocational Education and Training institutions, SMEs) and their activities.

  • Support the objective of attracting and facilitating the integration of potential new partners in the EIT KICs and link local innovation ecosystems to pan-European innovation ecosystems.

  • Act as a bridge with relevant Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3).

  • Leverage additional private and public funding, with particular attention to European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds.

What we offer in EIT RIS countries

Capacity Building

Learning by doing and cultivating and attracting talent, professional development and re-skilling for the future of work with a focus on real-life challenges are essential to create a climate resilient future, while helping to increase the innovativeness and competitiveness of regional economies.

Young Innovators

Pioneers into Practice


Business Development

Our entrepreneurship programmes identify, support and invest in entrepreneurs through every stage of innovation, helping them achieve success and commercial scale.



Innovation Ecosystem

Our innovation support covers policy co-creation, matchmaking, and community labs that assess the specific country needs. It is based on enabling connections to design, work and make sense of a portfolio of connected actions to leverage impact in each specific ecosystem


Community Lab

Transitions Hub

Being part of EIT Climate-KIC RIS Community

Our place-based transformation agents: EIT Climate-KIC HUBs.

Selected through an open call, EIT Climate-KIC HUBs are our regional ‘focal points’ in EIT RIS countries which act as innovation community catalysts. EIT Climate-KIC Hubs –whose members can be partners or external organisations and are composed of at least four organisations representing the business sector, education, public and civil society —have been designed to serve the twofold purpose of being local knowledge brokers for innovation and promote the Knowledge Triangle locally.  These organisations are key players in their national innovation eco-systems and gather strong regional outreach and experience in co-designing capacity building programmes, supporting
entrepreneurs, liaising with local, regional and national authorities and connecting to wider society. There is currently a network of 14 EIT Climate-KIC HUBs located in targeted RIS countries.

You can find more information on each HUB here: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Serbia and Slovenia.

Our community of Innovators across Europe: EIT Climate-KIC partners 

We are a growing community and in 2020 reached more than 50 active partners in 14 RIS countries.  Becoming part of the EIT Climate-KIC community, means joining the largest European public-private partnership of climate innovators across the continent. We believe that the cross-fertilisation and collaboration among actors in our network will bridge the gap of innovation and regional disparities.  EIT Climate-KIC catalyses and supports innovation for climate action, but it is our partners who make that innovation happen. We invest in our growing community to accelerate transition and create the critical mass needed to scale up the supply of and demand for solutions tackling climate change.  Our network of partners includes the brightest minds, the most dynamic companies, the most strategic thinkers and the most forward-thinking cities and public authorities committed to climate action and deep decarbonisation through innovation.

Sandra Vlasic for Climate-KIC Hub Croatia "Being a part of Climate-KIC is like joining the champions team of 300+ European organisations playing the most important match of our lives."

Benefits of being an RIS partner

Benefits of the EIT Climate-KIC RIS Programme: 

  • Ensures EIT/KIC activity reaches all Member States and has impact in the most vulnerable part of Europe to climate change.
  • Stimulates green innovation in countries, regions and cities across Southern and Central Eastern Europe to strengthen innovation capacities and Knowledge Triangle Integration.
  • Ensures a tailored approach to addressing the needs of diverse innovation ecosystems.
  • Boosts stakeholders’ role as multipliers of knowledge and expertise
  • Fosters synergies and efficiency gains with Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3)
  • Offers access to pan-European knowledge and innovation community of leaders from business, academia, the public and non-profit sectors.
  • Offers capacity building programmes and business creation opportunity through a high variety of programmes and seed funding to leverage on investments for climate positive businesses.
  • Increasing the reach of sustainable development activities

Lisboa E-Nova for Climate-KIC Hub Portugal "Climate-KIC allowed us to create a plan and an articulated strategy with the Municipality of Lisbon. It has been a program of enormous added value."

EIT Climate-KIC Activities in the Western Balkans

The EIT Climate-KIC Regional Innovation Scheme flagship initiative active in Southern, Central and Eastern European countries is connected to our actions in the Western Balkan countries. We already have partners in Serbia (also with an EIT Climate-KIC Hub), Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of North Macedonia.

Cross-KIC project Boosting Green, Circular Economy in the Western Balkans

EIT Climate-KIC has joined forces with EIT RawMaterials, EIT Health, EIT Food, EIT Manufacturing, EIT Digital and EIT Urban Mobility in a Cross-Knowledge and Innovation Community (cross-KIC) initiative aiming to bolster the collaboration to enhance circular economy in the Western Balkans. The seven KICs, covering different societal challenges – climate, food, health, raw materials, digital, urban mobility and manufacturing – have developed expertise matched to the major needs of the region. Together, they exploit learnings around Green, Circular Economy as an umbrella approach to boost the economy, enhance capacities and foster knowledge-sharing in the Western Balkans.

Although EIT Climate-KIC was already active in the Western Balkans through the EIT Climate-KIC Serbia Hub and Regional Innovation projects, the cross-KIC Western Balkans project is the first effort putting together different KICs at this scale and coverage in the region. The engagement of several KICs and a holistic, cross-stakeholder approach truly demonstrates the interest of the EIT and KICs to join forces and strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the Western Balkans. There are many local activities on circular economy that already exist, however there have not been many initiatives that have taken circular economy through a systemic approach. On the contrary, there are many small initiatives that are overlapping scope, not leveraging on cooperation and resulting in lower impact. KICs therefore aim at identifying complementary, holistic actions through understanding the local needs. The multi-stakeholder approach enables better information flow and ensures a space for joint discussion, opportunity creation and a greater climate impact in the region.

Other Regional Innovation projects in the region

Circular Economy Beacons

This project aims to establish centres (Beacons) that will trigger circular innovation and implementation in business and supply chain management.

Future Cities of South-East Europe

Through the Future Cities of southeast Europe initiative, Maribor, Sarajevo, Skopje, Križevci, and Niš are working to deliver on a mission to transform these cities into the best possible places in Europe to live, work and visit by 2025. This will ensure that the cities involved in the project by 2025 provide citizens with the foundations of a good life in housing, health care, education, energy, mobility, food, water, green public spaces, general security and good employment opportunities.

Contact Us

For more information do not hesitate to contact us: