A KIC remains an open partnership, and the limitation on the number of
co-location centres concerns only the application stage – additional co-
location centres can be created and new partners can enter and exit a
KIC at a later stage, in line with the KIC’s applicable provisions. Limitations
at application stage have been introduced to stimulate competition.
What other steps is Climate-KIC taking to address the
Horizon 2020 climate Societal Challenge?
The knowledge triangle is seen as a basis, but what you really need to
do is tie it into the Societal Challenges that we have. This is what KICs
are doing – you have a knowledge triangle around a theme.
We need to make sure that we get the right balance and the right
sequence in adaptation and mitigation. Mitigation is a little bit more sexy
and cool, but adaptation is the bigger issue. We need to make sure that
we get the right focus but also that we put the right people in; adaptation
is where more public sector money is spent.
There is always enough money after a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy
for clean-up, yet there were no funds to avoid the disaster; it would have
only taken a fifth of the money spent on recovery. We need to have a
collective mindset going forward, and we need to invest in adaptation
and protection before it is too late.
we started. It is therefore time for Europe to be ready for a new phase
and become a low carbon economy.
How is Climate-KIC tapping into emotions to encourage
adaption to climate change?
It has been part of my rhetoric since joining Climate-KIC. It is getting
traction, although it is an area that needs to be tested and assessed as to
whether more efforts are needed. We need to look at the various avenues
to reach and mobilise the younger, more digitally savvy generation.
We also need to develop illustrations that are simple to understand and
which can be shown in schools, explaining in easy terms what is
happening, what changes you can make on a personal level, and how
that affects the climate.
How is the KIC encouraging the citizen to play a greater
role in innovation?
In all our projects, especially when we consider our updated strategies,
it is very much a system focus. For example, in sustainable city districts,
it is about engaging with people on the ground – people want you to
make a personal change, but a collective change is also needed in order
to become self-sustainable. It is all about those choices, and in the
projects we are executing, there needs to be a much larger mobilisation
What action can be taken to encourage a closer
relationship between education and industry?
The focus is the co-location centres, which are really the heart of what
our community is doing and help us reach the innovators and young
talent; the key complexity is how you can then replicate the skills and
achievements across Europe. We are looking at a much higher level of
engagement with our top level partners in strategic areas; this means
we have a greater focus on cities but also engage with those cities to
make a difference. We also have a greater emphasis on climate and
Some of the big companies, for example Unilever, which is not currently
part of Climate-KIC, have a keen interest in climate change but know
they have to make changes to the value chain. These companies have
started thinking far beyond nation states. We are coming out of an era
with a licence to operate – the public sector makes the laws and the
business sector complies with the laws. Businesses are starting to realise
there is time to get a licence to lead. You need the public sector certainly,
but the public sector is not moving fast enough with the amount of
challenges we are facing; business understands that. We need to change
our relationship and partnership, in addition to getting more traction on
What are your thoughts on the EIT proposal to reduce
the number of co-location centres in the new KICs?
We started with five co-location centres and opened our sixth last year.
What seems to have happened in the last round is that some of the calls
were so big that there was not enough competition.
Bertrand van Ee
B R OW S Ewww.climate-kic.org www.eit.europa.eu
H O R I Z O N
2 0 2 0www.horizon2020projects.com
H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L
I S S U E S E V E N
S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : C L I M AT E A C T I O N
Bertrand van Ee (centre) is keen to tap into the emotions of young people to
encourage action in combatting climate change