What are deep technologies?

Deep tech innovations are indispensable in creating solutions to the most pressing global challenges facing Europe. The EIT HEI Initiative is committed to working together with universities and partners to boost knowledge in deep tech fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cleantech to power new technologies for a brighter Europe.

Deep tech are institutions, organisations and start-ups whose objective is to provide advanced and emerging technology solutions to complex global challenges, like climate change, sustainable energy or health. These scientific or engineering solutions often require lengthy research and development and large capital investment before successful commercialisation.

In November 2022 the EIT’s HEI Initiative announced its first call for proposals with a special focus on deep tech. The call required that applicants showed how they would build innovation capacity through the integration of deep tech talent-fostering activities. Applying consortia were also asked to show how their applications aligned with the Deep Tech Talent Initiative and contribute to deep tech innovation. In addition, all organisations in the selected projects from this call submitted an official expression of interest to make a pledge in line with the objectives of the Deep Tech Talent Initiative.

As a result, 16 projects, involving 100 HEIs and 79 non-academic organisations (companies, research centres, public authorities and associations), will benefit from maximum funding of EUR 750 000 each to support their innovation capacity, with a particular focus on deep tech.

In July 2022, the EU announced the New European Innovation Agenda, which includes a list of 25 actions that will help to boost the number of deep tech start-ups in Europe. The actions are grouped into five flagships.

Learn more about the New European Innovation Agenda

The five flagship groups of the New European Innovation Agenda

Funding for deep tech scale-ups

Enabling deep tech innovation through experimentation spaces and public procurement

Accelerating and strengthening innovation in European Innovation Ecosystems across the EU and addressing the innovation divide

Fostering, attracting and retaining deep tech talent

Improving policy making

Deep tech innovation requires access to a strong supply of graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, who are also equipped with entrepreneurial skills. In line with the new European Innovation Agenda, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has launched the Deep Tech Talent Initiative to skill one million people within deep tech fields by 2025. This initiative will not only ensure the development of a skilled labour force, but also the retention of high-growth companies active in the deep tech fields to maintain and expand their operations in Europe.

Some of the deep tech fields in which the EIT aims to mobilise one million talents include:

Advanced computing / Quantum computing
Artificial intelligence and machine learning, including big data
Electronics and photonics
Advanced manufacturing
Biotechnology and life sciences
Internet of things, W3C, semantic web
Advanced materials
Communications and networks, including 5G
Aerospace, automotive and remote sensing
Cybersecurity and data protection
Semiconductors (microchips)
Sustainable energy and clean technologies
Web 3.0, including blockchain, distributed ledgers, NFTs
Virtual reality, augmented reality, metaverse

These deep tech sectors, sub-sectors, applications and definitions may change as technologies and markets change over time. What unites them is that they hold the key to solving complex societal challenges through innovation.

Learn more about the Deep Tech Talent Initiative.


Deep Tech Talent Training Prize now OPEN!

Another exciting opportunity is now available for the EIT HEI Initiative community: the Deep Tech Talent Training Prize of the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative! The Deep Tech Talent Training Prize rewards excellence in addressing deep tech training challenges. Awards are given to applicants who demonstrate excellence in addressing challenges in specific area groups of the Deep Tech Talent Initiative.

The total maximum funding allocated to this prize is up to EUR 1 000 000 with a maximum prize per entity of up to EUR 60 000.

The Prize is open to all organisations who meet the criteria and have completed the pledge and quality check process by 22 September 2023.

As long as the training submitted for the Prize is not the same as the EIT HEI Initiative-funded action, there is not an issue of double funding.

Learn more about the Deep Tech Talent Training Prize