On October 4th and 5th Moverim had the pleasure to participate to the “Italian EIT Community Days”, organised by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (Horizon Europe, Pillar III) in collaboration with APRE (Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea). Two intense morning sessions to learn more about the EIT and the funding opportunities existing within its KICs (Knowledge and Innovation Communities)!
It presented a highly valuable opportunity to enhance national awareness of the EIT’s activities and funding schemes, often overlooked despite their significant potential to boost the competitiveness and innovation capabilities of Italian companies.
Let’s delve deeper into what was discussed during the Community Days.
The first day started with a crucial overview of the EIT as an entity which operates independently under the umbrella of Horizon Europe, with its own governing board and a comprehensive structure dedicated to fostering innovation throughout Europe.
The Innovation Triangle
The EIT promotes activities that support innovation, assist businesses and startups, and nurture the next generation of innovators. This is accomplished by fostering partnerships among diverse entities: educational institutions, universities, research institutes, businesses, and those who can provide financial support for innovation.
Indeed, the EIT’s foundation lies in the so-called Innovation Triangle, where three critical components intersect:
- Education: Shaping the new generation’s understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship;
- Pure Research: Delving into future challenges and opportunities;
- Enterprise and Business: Transforming ideas into thriving businesses, adhering to the motto: “An idea is worth a dollar, a business plan is worth 10, a business is worth 100.”
KICs as Innovation Ecosystems
The EIT’s approach to funding is centered around thematic sectors, known as KICs, which focus on tackling the pressing challenges faced by Europe and the world. Within each KICs, only the most promising applicants are selected to receive funding.
KICs form innovation ecosystems by bringing together institutions dedicated to education, research, and business. Currently, there are nine thematic fields in which Europe is investing to drive innovation, with one more related to water in the pipeline.
Several of these KICs have already nurtured “unicorns” – startups now valued at over 1 billion euros – with assistance and financing within this section of Pillar III of Horizon Europe.
But what are KICs exactly?
KICs are legally independent entities with their own governance structures, CEOs, management teams, and governing boards. They operate autonomously while being monitored by the EIT to ensure alignment with its objectives.
Each KIC strategically positions 5-8 central innovation hubs across Europe, working toward a seven-year plan to foster a European entrepreneurial culture. They are crucial for creating international communities to connect partners across the continent.
The nine KICs
The Italian Community Days deepen each KIC, highlighting who’s behind them, where they operate, what are their operational methods, and the current opportunities available.
If you want to know more about the KICs, you can check their webpage:
- EIT Climate: Accelerating the transition to a zero-carbon economy
- EIT Culture & Creativity: Transforming the cultural and creative sectors
- EIT Digital: Driving Europe’s digital transformation
- EIT Health: Enhancing opportunities for healthy living across the EU
- EIT Food: Pioneering a global revolution in food innovation and production
- EIT InnoEnergy: Charting a sustainable energy future for Europe
- EIT Manufacturing: Enhancing the competitiveness of the European manufacturing sector
- EIT Raw Materials: Transforming raw materials into a significant European asset
- EIT Urban Mobility: Smart, green, and integrated transportation solutions
The second day closed with a compelling success story from Sabrina Malpede, CEO of “ACT Blade” and the 2022 EIT Awards winner. She shared how her company, with the support of InnoEnergy, advanced from a TRL5 to a TRL7, securing funds to conduct real tests of their product.
That is just one example of how the EIT can really make a difference for businesses in Italy and all over the EU!
If you are interested in deepening the content of the Community Days, please note that all the materials from the presentations used during the event will soon be accessible on APRE website for free consultation.