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HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education

Unlocking the potential of higher education institutions
for innovation and entrepreneurship

HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education was launched by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and is led by EIT RawMaterials ‐ one of the EIT's Knowledge and Innovation Communities. It is part of the 2021–2027 EIT Strategy, and it aims to help higher education institutions to build the capacity to innovate and to teach innovation and entrepreneurship. More specifically, the initiative aims to encourage these institutions to look at their own practices and develop concrete actions to increase their impact on their ecosystems.

Industrial change

Institutional change







Knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing

About the call

Pilot Call for Proposals from
higher education institutions

The Call

As part of HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education, the EIT announced a Pilot Call for Proposals, inviting higher education institutions to design activities that will improve their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity.

Read our press release & factsheet. You can also check out these frequently asked questions and see the list of KIC partners.


The call will fund 23 pilot projects to be implemented in 2021−2023. The total maximum budget per project is €1.2 million, broken down as follows: €400,000 for Phase 1 (July−December 2021) and €800,000 for Phase 2 (January 2022−July 2023).

On 15 July, the EIT’s HEI Initiative announced the 23 projects selected as part of the Pilot Call for Proposals. The awarded projects include 135 higher education institutions from 32 countries, and they will receive maximum funding of €27.5 million for Phase 1 (July – December 2021) and Phase 2 (January 2022–July 2023).

You can learn more about each awarded project below:

View more stats about the Pilot Call or read our press release.

Read the full list of participating organisations in the selected projects.

Mariya Gabriel

Universities have a critical role to play in the development and growth of local and regional innovation ecosystems. This new initiative will help them boost their entrepreneurial capabilities at all levels and unlock their innovation potential. I congratulate the selected consortia for putting bold and promising ideas on the table, and now it’s time to step into action and make them a reality!

Mariya Gabriel
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

Pilot Call

Nearly 750 partners across Europe apply for the Pilot Call for Proposals

We are delighted to announce that the Pilot Call for Proposals has received a total of 64 applications from across Europe. Here are some additional figures about the participating partners:

  • A total of 319 HEIs (291 full partners and 28 associated partners)
  • A total of 429 non-academic organisations (103 full partners and 326 associated partners), including companies, research institutes, HEI associations, and public bodies
  • A total of 36 countries (26 EU Member States and 10 non-EU countries)

Thank you for sending us your proposals for unlocking the potential of higher education in Europe, and stay tuned for the Pilot Call results on 15 July!

Our communities

The HEI Initiative is supported by EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities under Horizon Europe

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