The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) launched a selection process on February 14 to set up two new Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), with partners from higher education, research and business.
"This is the first step in our expansion of the EIT, with five new KICs planned over the next seven years. We're looking for great innovators and entrepreneurs with the drive to tackle concrete challenges and deliver results. I hope that many organisations will respond to this call and join us in this exciting journey," said Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner responsible for the EIT.
The two KICs will focus on innovation for healthy living and active ageing, and on raw materials – sustainable exploration, extraction processing, recycling and substitution. The application process is open until 10 September. Following an independent evaluation of the proposals, guided by specific selection criteria, one KIC in each field will be designated. The EIT is part of the EU's Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation.
The KICs are autonomous public-private partnerships which bring together top-class higher education institutions, research centres, companies and other organisations committed to tackling societal challenges through, among other means, the development of products, services and processes.
There are currently three KICs focused on climate change, ICT and sustainable energy (Climate KIC, KIC InnoEnergy and EIT ICT Labs). They have provided entrepreneurship training for more than 1 000 students and contributed to the creation of more than 100 start-ups. Around 90 new products, services or processes have been launched and more than 400 business ideas are currently being incubated within the KICs.
The partnership for the new KICs must consist of at least three organisations, established in at least three different EU Member States. It must include at least one higher education institution and one private company.