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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 has 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 will be selected through a competitive evaluation and selection process. To participate in the call, higher education institutions must apply via this website (see below). The deadline for submitting applications is 25 May 2021, and the selected projects will be announced in June.

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

Info sessions

Introduction to the HEI Initiative and to HEInnovate

During April 2020, a series of online info sessions took place to explain the HEI Initiative. If you missed these, or would like to review the content, you can view the recording or the slides from an info session.

One of the requirements of the Pilot Call is that all higher education institutions in a consortium must undertake an HEInnovate self-assessment to help define the contents of their Innovation Vision Action Plan. In this context, a webinar introducing HEInnovate took place in April 2020. You can still review the recording or the slides.

Innovate with us

Before you apply, please read carefully the full Pilot Call for Proposals, paying special attention to the eligibility and selection requirements.

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Matchmaking & networking

Want to connect with potential consortium partners for the HEI Initiative Pilot Call?

Use our online networking tool to connect with potential consortium partners and other organisations interested in the HEI Initiative. Live video networking daily until 16 April 2020; thereafter, message exchange services will be available until 24 May.

Register now

Our communities

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

Coordinated by

Visit our communities

EIT Climate EIT Digital EIT Food EIT Health
EIT InnoEnergy EIT Manufacturing EIT UrbanMobility Funded by the European Union