EU Science Hub

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs): Collaboration in a RIS3 Context


Innovation in the European Union is called upon to increase competitiveness, to improve territorial cohesion, and also to address societal challenges. This challenge-driven innovation is also high on the global agenda, and calls for building sufficient critical mass by taking full advantage of synergies and complementarities between innovation initiatives, in particular between cohesion-based innovation and excellence-based innovation. This report investigates in particular the motivations, practices and opportunities for strengthening collaborations between EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (EIT KICs) (focusing on excellence-based innovation) and the Managing Authorities of national and regional ESI Funds (focusing on cohesion-based innovation), within the context of Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). Closer collaboration between RIS3 actors and the EIT KICs’ actors across Europe seems natural, as both communities aim at building Europe-wide value chains, encompass similar sets of stakeholders, and tackle similar societal challenges through innovation. However collaboration does not seem to come naturally, given the limited practices to date. Detailed analysis of both conceptual and practical similarities and differences between both approaches and the related communities identifies arguments, opportunities and bottlenecks for increased collaboration. Different modes of collaboration are considered, as well as proposals to scale up current collaboration practices and unlock existing collaboration potential. The report aims to make an important practical contribution to optimising the efficiency of research and innovation spending, to combining the objectives of increased competitiveness and cohesion, and to better addressing the big challenges our society is facing on the eve of the launch of the new Multi-Financial Framework.