To prepare for the EIT’s future and to better serve Europe as its largest innovation community, the EIT presented its strategy for beyond 2020 to the European Commission in December 2017. This formed the basis and input for the EIT’s future role and position in the Horizon Europe Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 2021-2027.
The European Commission’s proposal establishing Horizon Europe, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation for 2021-2027, published in June 2018, sets out the proposed budget for the EIT during the period as well as its rationale, including areas of intervention, broad lines of activity and performance indicators.
The Horizon Europe proposal itself, however, does not provide the legal basis to continue the operation of the EIT beyond 2020. The European Commission therefore proposed an update to the EIT Regulation and a new Strategic Innovation Agenda for the EIT the period 2021-2027 on 11 July 2019. The entire EIT legislative package 2019 can be found here.
The EIT Regulation, focusing on the key principles of the functioning of the EIT and its KICs, will ensure greater legal clarity vis-à-vis the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, and will enshrine the financial sustainability principle for the KICs. The revised EIT Regulation ensures greater legal clarity and alignment with the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The new legal base also introduces a lean and simplified funding model for the EIT designed to more effectively encourage additional private and public investment. Finally, it reinforces the EIT’s governing structure.
Furthermore, the Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA) proposed for 2021-2027 ensures alignment with the objectives of Horizon Europe and introduces the following main new features:
- Increasing the regional impact of Knowledge and Innovation Communities: In the future, the EIT will strengthen its networks, involving more higher education institutions, businesses and research organisations by developing regional outreach strategies. The selection of cooperation partners and the preparation of KIC activities will be more inclusive. KICs will also develop links to Smart Specialisation Strategies, an EU initiative to spur economic growth and job creation by enabling each region to identify and develop its own competitive advantages.
- Boosting the innovation capacity of higher education: The EIT will support 750 higher education institutions with funding, expertise and coaching, enabling them to develop economic activities within their area of interest. The Institute will design and launch activities particularly in countries with a lower innovation capacity. In doing so, the EIT will build on successful policy initiatives such as HEInnovate, a free self-assessment tool for all types of higher education institutions, or the Regional Innovation Impact Assessment Framework, which allows universities to assess how they are fostering innovation in the regions they are based in.
- Launch of new KICs: The EIT will launch two new KICs, selected in fields most relevant to Horizon Europe policy priorities. The first new KIC is set to focus on the cultural and creative industries (CCI) (more information found here in Annex 1B – page 24) and is planned to start in 2022. This sector has a high growth potential, many local grassroots initiatives and strong citizen appeal and is complementary to the existing eight KICs. The priority field of a second new KIC will be decided at a later stage; it is due to be launched in 2025.
All documents linked to the EIT legislative package 2019 can be found here.
Both the revised EIT Regulation and the Commission Decision on the Strategic Innovation Agenda for 2021-2027 will be presented to the European Parliament and the Council for discussion and adoption.
Relevant policy documents:
- European Commission Proposals for the EIT legislative package 2019 – 07/2019
- EIT Mid-term Evaluation – 10/2018
- EIT Strategic Outline – 10/2017
- Draft Future EIT Thematic Areas – 10/2017
- EIT Position Paper: Synergies with Horizon Europe – 10/2018
- EIT Position Paper: EIT in Horizon Europe – 10/2018