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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).


The organisation that submits the proposal must be a higher education institution established in the EU or a country associated with Horizon Europe. This institution applies on behalf of all participating organisations involved in the project (see the full eligibility requirements below).


Projects are selected through a competitive evaluation and selection process. To participate in the call, higher education institutions must have applied via this website (see below). The deadline for submitting applications was 25 May 2021, and the selected projects will be announced in July.

Mariya Gabriel

The EIT will work with HEIs and their leadership to equip them with the right tools to support innovation across their campuses and beyond. I am looking forward to the results of the initiative that will give our universities an even larger role in Europe's innovation landscape.

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 12 July!

Our communities

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

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