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This page was published on 29/09/2005
Published: 29/09/2005

   Human resources & mobility

Published: 29 September 2005  
Related category(ies):
Human resources & mobility  |  Research policy  |  Science in society


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Looking into the EIT

The Commission launched, last month, a consultation process to determine the grounds for creating a European Institute of Technology (EIT), an idea coming out of the mid-term review of the EU's Lisbon Strategy to become the world's ‘know-how powerhouse'.    

The Commission is exploring whether to take its idea for a European Institute of Technology further. © PhotoDisc
The Commission is exploring whether to take its idea for a European Institute of Technology further.
© PhotoDisc
In its mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy, the Commission mentioned it would look into the idea of setting up a European Institute of Technology. The EIT, it is suggested, could strengthen research, education and market innovation in Europe, giving valuable impetus to the renewed Lisbon Strategy of knowledge generation linked to ‘growth and jobs'. This, in turn, should secure Europe's future and help it become the world's leading knowledge-based economy by 2010.

But before embarking on such an important project, the Commission wants to hear what stakeholders and European citizens have to say about it first. Promoting transparent policy-making, it published a ‘consultation document' and is seeking input from the wider education, research and innovation communities about their ambitions on this issue.

The primary aim of the public consultation is to gather opinions to help the Commission decide whether to take the idea further. It concentrates on key issues, such as the EIT's mission, objectives and possible structure, as well as what it would add to European economies and societies. The findings will be published as a report in early 2006 on a special website created for this exercise. Visit the site to read the consultation paper and post your thoughts on the EIT!

Quest for knowledge
Scientific and technological advances are drivers of economic growth and employment. But Europe's success in research and education, recent studies suggest, are not always effectively translated into competitive advantages for European business. Europe's share of knowledge creation has declined over recent decades. For example, the share of total Nobel Prize winners from the current EU has dropped from 73% in the first half of the 20th century to 33% in the second half. Between 1995 and 2004, the fall-off has increased, with only 19% now coming from the EU, the consultation paper points out.

The quest for knowledge is at the heart of the European project, helping to define European identity and values. “It is [the] driving force behind our future competitiveness,” notes the Commission's mid-term review of the Lisbon Process. To reinforce its commitment to knowledge as a “key to growth”, the Commission put the EIT on the table to “act as a pole of attraction for the very best minds, ideas and companies from around the world”.

The proposed EIT should draw on the considerable strengths of existing European institutions, the Commission noted in a press statement on the consultation. EU President José Manuel Barroso welcomed the consultation, saying that, “Together we need to strengthen Europe's potential in research and technology, by stimulating research careers, by encouraging European researchers to stay in Europe and by attracting the best brains from around the world to Europe.”

The consultation will run from September to mid-November. Once concluded, the Commission will consider whether it wishes to take the matter further, and may then prepare a paper for the Spring European Council in March 2006. If favoured by the European Council, the Commission would make a formal legislative proposal for the EIT to the Council and the European Parliament.

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See also

EIT consultation website
Lisbon Strategy ‘growth and jobs’
Commission’s mid-term review of the Lisbon Process PDF icon [490 Kb]
José Manuel Barroso website

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