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Tibor Navracsics

European Commissioner for

Education, Culture, Youth and Sport


his issue of Portal looks at the work of the European Institute

of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its Knowledge and

Innovation Communities (KIC). There is a special feature on

INNOVEIT, a major event held in Budapest in May which brought

together key European players from business, research and education.

INNOVEIT was a landmark event, showing that the EIT and its KICs are

now in a position to start reaching out beyond their partnerships, making

a real impact on innovation in education, in research and in new

products. I congratulate the EIT and the KICs on this successful event.

The EIT is at an exciting stage. The second wave of its KICs, dealing with

health and raw materials, has started work. The results of the first wave

of KICs – Climate-KIC, KIC InnoEnergy and EIT Digital – already show

the key role of the EIT in advancing innovation in Europe.

The KICs have so far brought together more than 800 partners in 35

countries. They have encouraged more than 24,000 students to join

education programmes, fostered more than 450 business ideas, and

launched a wide range of new products and services. Among them are

this year’s EIT Award winners: the LEDsafari €4 solar lamp that can be

assembled using locally available material without prior technical

knowledge, the EOLOS Floating Lidar System, which significantly reduces

the cost of developing offshore wind projects, and the Nordic Power

Converter, which will increase the efficiency of billions of daily use

products using power converters.

Many other innovative ideas from Europe’s brightest and best are in the

pipeline. The call for new KICs in 2016 on ‘Added-value Manufacturing’

and ‘Food4Future’, as well as the 2018 call for a KIC on ‘Urban mobility’,

will provide new, exciting opportunities for this. The 2016 call will build

upon the experience of the existing KICs and is designed to support

well-integrated and competitive partnerships. The competition is fierce,

with interest from leading industry, research and higher education

institutes all over Europe.

Over the next few years, the KICs will work within the context of the

European Fund for Strategic Investments. The EFSI aims to unlock more

than €315bn of public and private investment in the real economy,

providing a huge opportunity to invest in growth across Europe.

There are concerns about the cuts imposed on the budget of Horizon

2020, and of the EIT in particular, to provide part of the seed capital for

the EFSI. However, the KICs’ unique public private partnerships between

research institutions, businesses, education institutions and other local

or regional stakeholders, as well as their achievements at the pinnacle

of European innovation, clearly fit with the objectives of the EFSI.

This places the KICs in an exceptional situation to benefit from the EFSI,

while the EIT remains a vital part of Horizon 2020 with 3.5% of total

funding. The KICs and the EIT should now tap into the EFSI to the greatest

possible extent, and they have my full support in this effort.

In this issue of Portal, you will read about the people behind the EIT and

the achievements of its KICs, as well as about the winning innovations

of the 2015 EIT Awards. I hope this will give you a taste of the inspiring

atmosphere of this milestone conference.

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L