Brussels, 09 Jun 2006
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL
The European Institute of Technology: further steps towards its creation
The Commission first drew attention to the need for a European Institute of Technology in its Spring Report 20051. The European Council took note, and the Commission launched a process of reflection and consultation, which resulted in its presenting on 22 February 2006 a first Communication on the European Institute of Technology (EIT)2.
The conclusions of the March 2006 European Council state that:
"The European Council notes the significance of the Commission's communication on the European Institute for Technology and will further examine the ideas in order to enhance together with other actions networking and synergies between excellent research and innovation communities in Europe. The European Council recognises that a European Institute for Technology ­ based on top-class networks open to all Member States ­ will be an important step to fill the existing gap between higher education, research and innovation, together with other actions that enhance networking and synergies between excellent research and innovation communities in Europe. The European Research Council should have a guiding role in this context. The European Council invites the Commission to submit a proposal on further steps by mid June 2006."3
Following the European Council, the Commission has reflected further on the concept, and in particular on the issues raised by Member States and stakeholders. It has organised a series of consultation meetings4 to give all parties a chance to discuss the proposal and its rationale, and to hear their feedback. President Barroso met a delegation5 from the Scientific Council of the ERC which also submitted a position paper.
During this consultation process, general agreement has emerged on the Commission's background analysis of gaps and needs as well as the need for a concerted effort to harness Europe's capacity in the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation to improve its competitiveness. Various stakeholders raised the question of the name of the future institute, referring to possible confusion with current organisations and the need to definitively emphasise its innovative character. The Commission will reflect upon this and address the issue in its final proposal.
The EIT should be seen as one part of an integrated strategy to mobilise education, research and innovation towards the Lisbon goals. Funding mechanisms such as the 7th Framework Research Programme and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme will provide support for research and innovation at the highest levels of excellence. EU regional policy provides substantial support for expanding research, innovation and education capacities throughout the Union, and will focus even more on this area in the next