Brussels, 18 October 2006
The Commission today adopted a proposal to establish a European Institute of Technology (EIT). The proposed organisation of the EIT is in the form of a small central governance structure and a network of 'Knowledge and Innovation Communities', which will carry out the tasks of the EIT. Subject to approval by the European Parliament and the Council, the EIT could begin operations in 2008, with an estimated budget of up to € 2.4 billion for the period 2008-2013, to be financed by public and private sources. The Institute will be a flagship for excellence in innovation, research and higher education in Europe. It will be a reference model in the way it combines the worlds of academia, research and business so as to enable Europe to face the challenges of a globalising, knowledge-based world economy more effectively.
Commenting on the proposed Regulation, President Jose Manuel Barroso said: "We need innovation to make Europe competitive on the global scene. And we need a European space for innovation in which excellence can thrive. The EIT is designed to attract talent and bring together the very best actors in the knowledge triangle. Through its networks, the EIT will tear down the walls between research, education and business, to unlock Europe's potential for innovation."
President Barroso added: "Our ambition is to have the EIT up and running before the end of the mandate of this Commission. I am looking to the informal summit of Heads of State and Government in Lahti to provide their political support for this new flagship for innovation in Europe."
The Commission is proposing an integrated, two-level structure for the EIT that combines both a top-down and a bottom-up approach:
* The EIT itself, overseen by a Governing Board (GB): the legal entity that will be the EIT will consist of the GB and a very limited number of around 60 scientific and support staff. The GB will be composed of a balanced, representative group of 15 high-profile people from business and the scientific community, plus 4 further Members representing staff and students from the EIT and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities. It will be responsible for setting the overall strategic priorities of the EIT and for selecting Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) to address them.. It will evaluate their progress towards agreed objectives and coordinate their work in the strategic areas concerned.
* Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs): The KICs are the defining characteristic of the EIT; based on, but going beyond a network approach, they are joint-ventures of partner organisations representing universities, research organisations and businesses who come together to form an integrated partnership in response to calls for proposals from the EIT. Their objectives will be laid down on a contractual basis with the EIT, but they will have a high level of autonomy in terms of how they organise themselves and how they achieve the agreed objectives. They will fully integrate the innovation, research and education dimensions.
The Commission has taken this position after having considered a number of possible organisational structures for the EIT during an extensive period of consultations with Member States, stakeholders and interested parties and on the basis of an extended impact assessment.
The Commission proposes that the EIT should create approximately six Knowledge and Innovation Communities by 2013, addressing strategic long-term challenges in fields of key potential economic and societal interest for Europe.
The overall budget of the EIT for the period is estimated at some € 2.4 bn. This funding will come from a variety of sources, including a contribution directly from the Community budget and contributions from the private sector. It is also expected that that the KICs will attract funding on a normal competitive basis from relevant programmes such as the Seventh Research Framework, Lifelong Learning and Competitiveness and Innovation Programmes, as well as the Structural Funds. Through the coordination of the Governing Board, the EIT will aim to ensure synergies and achieve the best possible use of resources. The administrative and governance costs of the EIT as such will be a very minor part of the overall budget.
If the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers adopt the proposed legislative text before the end of 2007, the EIT could become operational in 2008, with the first two Knowledge and Innovation Communities set up in 2010.
See also MEMO/06/382 (questions and answers)
More information: http:///ec.europa.eu/education/policies/e duc/eit/index_en.html