Press Release: 294 partners join the EIT HEI Initiative to unlock innovation potential in Europe’s higher education

30 June 2022 – Budapest, Hungary – The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is pleased to announce the 26 winning consortia selected to take part in the EIT HEI Initiative. Nearly 300 higher education institutions (HEIs) and their partners from 38 countries will receive up to EUR 31.2 million in total to strengthen their innovation capacities.

Joining a network of over 270 organisations, the selected partners will be the second cohort to take part in the EIT HEI Initiative that is designed to support educational institutions with expertise, funding, and access to the EIT innovation ecosystem. Running since 2021, the EIT flagship programme helps HEIs develop and implement action plans to improve their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity across all institutional levels.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

‘Over the past year, the EIT HEI Initiative has built up great momentum to make higher education institutions more innovative and entrepreneurial by linking them with businesses and research centres. 294 additional organisations will benefit from expertise, coaching and knowledge exchange. This support will help them to build local innovation ecosystems and achieve real institutional change.’

Gioia Ghezzi, Chair of the EIT Governing Board added:

‘Higher Education Institutions house and nurture so many talents, skills, and potential, and its high time for more of their research and ideas to transform into innovations. The EIT is here and ready to support HEIs with the tools they need, to reimagine old ways of working and create new opportunities. I welcome the new projects and partners and I look forward to seeing how we can push the boundaries of what’s possible!’

A total of 56 consortia representing over 680 organisations from across Europe applied for this year’s EIT HEI Call, which closed in March 2022. As a result, 26 projects, involving 147 HEIs and 147 non-academic organisations (companies, research centres, public authorities and associations), will benefit from maximum funding of over EUR 31 million. The well-balanced distribution of organisations shows that the initiative is on the right path to achieving its goal – creating synergies between industry and HEIs to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe.

Organisations involved in the selected projects include, among others, the University of Udine (IT), Baltic Innovation Agency (EE), Trakia University (BU), Pannon Business Network Association (HU), Lunar Explorers Society (NL), Medical University of Lodz (PL), University of the Basque Country (ES), Odense Robotics (DK) and Health Capital Helsinki (FI).

Learn more about the selected projects.

Over the past year, the EIT HEI Initiative has seen its projects come up with creative and original approaches to innovation and entrepreneurial capacity-building in higher education. The established links between over 270 HEIs and companies, research and public bodies have led to vibrant ecosystems in which HEIs act as hubs that create systematic impact and drive innovation around Europe.

A third call for proposals will be announced in late 2022 for projects that will start in 2023. The EIT HEI Initiative aims to reach 550 HEIs by 2027 to boost European innovation in higher education and support the twin transition towards a more sustainable, digital and competitive Europe.

EIT – Making innovation happen!

About the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The EIT is Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem bringing together close to 3,000 partners from top business, research and education organisations across Europe in over 80 innovation hubs. The EIT strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial talent to create sustainable growth and skilled jobs in Europe. The EIT is an EU body and an integral part of Horizon Europe, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The Institute supports dynamic pan-European partnerships, EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities, composed of leading companies, research labs and universities each dedicated to solving a pressing global challenge, from climate change to health, to renewable energy. Together with their leading partners, the EIT Community offers:

  • entrepreneurial education degrees and courses across Europe that transform students into entrepreneurs such as Dora Palfi of imagiLabs, whose helping introduce coding to young women and girls, supported by EIT Digital.
  • business creation and acceleration services that take ideas and budding businesses to the next level such as Northvolt manufacturing the world’s greenest lithium-ion batteries, supported by EIT InnoEnergy
  • innovation driven research projects that turn ideas into products connecting partners, investors and expertise, such as Diabeloop – D4Kids, an artificial intelligence system to improve type 1 diabetes management for children, supported by EIT Health.

The EIT has powered more than 3,800 start-ups and scale-ups, created more than 1,400 new products and services that have gone to raise more than EUR 3.9 billion in external capital. More than 3,800 students have graduated from EIT labelled master and doctoral programmes and over 100,000 have participated in EIT Community entrepreneurial trainings.