What is it?

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an independent EU body located in Budapest. Its mission is to reinforce the innovation capacity of the EU and its Member States to address societal challenges in order to foster growth and create jobs.  

The main priorities of the EIT include:

  • Enhancing Europe’s ability to innovate by strengthening synergies and cooperation among education institutions, research organisations and business.
  • Nurturing talents across borders and fostering entrepreneurship through knowledge triangle integration.
  • Overcoming the fragmented European innovation landscape and create a favourable environment to enable world-class innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.  

Why is it needed?

Despite excellent research, education, and inventions, Europe faces difficulties in fully capitalising on its innovation potential. Fragmented systems, a weak entrepreneurial culture, and limited cooperation between higher education, research, business, and innovation organisations hinder Europe’s ability to compete in research and innovation at a global level.

The EIT tackles this issue through a network of Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs).

In the KICs, the EIT develops and tests new models of how innovation is approached, managed, financed, and delivered in Europe.

Through its work, the EIT contributes to the goals of the EU2020 Strategy and its flagship initiatives, in particular the Innovation Union, the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs and the Digital Agenda.

The EIT is part of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, which ensures that the EIT works in partnership with other EU initiatives and programmes.

What has been done so far?

Between 2010 and 2016, the EIT established five KICs. These communities are supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as generating breakthroughs in the ways that the higher education, research, and business sectors collaborate. The current KICs are in the areas of:

Since its creation, the EIT and its existing KICs, have brought together more than 800 partners from across Europe and beyond, supported more than 200 innovative start-ups, incubated more than 1200 business ideas and launched more than 200 new products and services. Currently, around 2000 students are enrolled in its EIT-labelled education programmes at Master and PhD levels.


The European Commission carries out studies on the outcomes of the EIT and KIC's activities and constantly reflects on the strategic orientations of the institute.

  1. Study on the policy of the EIT and its KICs regarding Intellectual Property Rights
  2. Study on the concept, development and impact of co-location centres using the exaple of the EIT and KIC
  3. The educational activities of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) of the European Institute of Innovation and technology (EIT) – experiences, innovative practices and ways forward

Evaluation of the EIT

The European Commission conducted an independent external evaluation with the objective to examine how the EIT fulfils its mission. The evaluation covered the activities of EIT and KICs in 2011-2015 and assessed the added value of EIT, the impact, effectiveness, sustainability, efficiency and relevance of the activities and their relationship and complementarity with existing national and Community policies.

An online open public consultation was carried out as part of the evaluation process in order to gather information and opinion from a wide spectrum of stakeholders. Commission SWD presents the results of the evaluation.

Commissioner Navracsics' High Level Group on the EIT

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics set up in 2016 a High Level Group on the EIT with the task to provide advice on how the EIT can best contribute to the EU innovation landscape, and to propose strategic changes which would maximise its impact.

The Group was chaired by Prof. Dr. Frans van Vught, with members Prof. Dr. Dr. Ann-Kristin Achleitner, Nicklas Bergman, Barbara Nowakowska and Prof. Emeritus János Vecsenyi. The Group brought together members with top-level expertise in the diverse areas of the EIT's mission: education, research, business and innovation.

On 8 December 2016 Commissioner Navracsics joined the Governing Board of the the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to hear a presentation of the findings of the High Level Group. Commenting on the Group's report, Commissioner Navracsics said: "This report confirms the unique role that the EIT plays in promoting innovation, education and entrepreneurship. The EIT is an EU initiative unlike any other with its mission to tackle some of the most important challenges facing Europe today, like an ageing population, food security, clean energy and climate action. The High Level Group has delivered a set of far-reaching recommendations that, once implemented, will help the EIT play this role even more effectively."

The report's recommendations address how the EIT's contribution to the future EU innovation landscape can be sharpened; how the EIT can create and grow innovations more effectively; how to involve business (including SMEs) more strongly in the KICs; how to achieve greater impact of the EIT's educational programmes; and a stronger role for the EIT Governing Board in setting future strategy for the EIT and its KICs.

The report of the High Level Group on the EIT: The Future of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT): Strategic Issues and Perspectives