Innovation and Knowledge Days with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and KIC Communities
April 19th, 2021. Zagreb
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), in cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia and representatives of local knowledge and innovation communities (KICs), gathered today on the digital platform ZOOM with a hundred of representatives of various organizations interested in innovation under the auspices of the EIT. The EIT is Europe’s largest innovation community with more than 2,000 partners, comprising entrepreneurs, companies and innovators, students and universities, researchers and research centers in almost 200 cities and regions across Europe with the aim of strengthening a complex innovation ecosystem.
In the past 10 years of operation, more than 60 innovation hubs have been established in Europe, more than 3,200 entrepreneurial ventures have been supported and more than 1,170 new products have been created, while more than € 3.3 billion in investments in innovative solutions have been mobilized. An indicator that this works is in the fact that 2020 brought a record number of new fully “domestic” digital products. According to the 2020 European Innovation Scoreboard published by the Commission, Europe’s innovation performance continues to improve. Still, we can and want to do more.
EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS) to support moderate and modest innovator countries
That is why the aim of the EIT is to provide additional support to innovation in European countries that are classified as being moderate or modest innovator according to the European Innovation Scoreboard, Croatia being among them. More precisely, Croatia is third from the bottom of the EU-27 scale as moderately innovative with 67 points out of 160 possible as the most advanced ones have – Sweden and Finland.
Nevertheless, Croatia has made progress compared to previous years, as indicated by the steady growth and doubling the amount of funding each year that is coming from the EIT to Croatia since 2016, which reached almost one million euro in 2019. “The trend is positive and the EIT is determined to continue to support the knowledge and innovation ecosystem in Croatia as well as its better integration in order to better connect the currently fragmented elements, actors and activities. It is important to know that the EIT budget in the EU financial perspective 2021-2027 is 25% higher than in the previous period, and amounts to as much as 3 billion euro. 10% of that amount is available for the RIS program (Regional Innovation Scheme), which also supports Croatia! ”- said Romana Jordan from the EIT Steering Committee.
Where does the EIT money go?
Most of this amount is invested in strengthening the ecosystem needed for stronger innovation development, in connecting the research and academic sector with industry, in education at all levels, in research and in innovation itself. The support system is extremely important, and it is the knowledge and innovation communities or KICs that are working to strengthen and expand it. There are six of them present in Croatia so far – EIT InnoEnergy, EIT Food, EIT Health, EIT Raw Materials, EIT Manufacturing and EIT Climate as a horizontal theme that intertwines with all sectors. In Croatia, two more KICs operate directly from the European level – EIT Digital, in which the Croatian IT company that grew to the “unicorn” stage – InfoBIP participated as well, and the EIT Urban Mobility that will soon publish a call for the Hub.
Heads-up! Here are currently open calls for innovators and events by various KICs that have been presented:
- The cross-KIC Jumpstarter programme lead by EIT Health, one of Europe’s best for early-stage start-ups is back for its 2021 edition and the applications close on April 30th. It is aimed for innovators in the domains of healthcare, agri-food, raw materials, sustainable energy, urban mobility, manufacturing and New European Bauhaus. The best ideas can win support from the best-in-class mentors and have a chance to win up to 10 000 euro.
- EIT Climate-KIC call for cleantech startups accelerator is open till April 27th, eligible countries are Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Serbia and Slovenia, check the ClimAccelerator page!
- EIT Raw Materials call for innovation projects is open till May 3rd and encouraging partners to submit new project proposals that will generate a significant impact on European industrial competitiveness, innovation capacity and human capital, as well as empower students and entrepreneurs driving towards the circular economy and the contribution towards the EU Green Deal goals.
- EIT Urban Mobility 2022 RIS Call for Proposals is open till May 18th and is focusing on all City Challenge activity areas of EIT Urban Mobility Innovation, Education, and Business Creation.
- EIT Manufacturing calls for the BoostUp event for RIS countries where startups can meet, match & pitch i.e. join the ecosystem – here is the link to event registration of EIT Manufacturing Innovation Meetups in Zagreb: http://bit.ly/eitmmeetup01
- EIT Digital opens its proposal submission period for EIT Digital 2022, which targets entrepreneurial minds planning to launch or boost a deep tech venture and product with the EIT Digital Innovation Factory; OR to deliver entrepreneurial digital tech education programmes with the EIT Digital Entrepreneurial Academy. System closes May 12, 2021 Check as well Deeptech Digital Accelerator, which is open throughout the year and works with fast-growing companies leveraging digital technologies, athttps://www.eitdigital.eu/accelerator
- EIT Food is at the forefront of the public debate with most relevant analytical tools of strategic foresight used by European Commission. Check the Food foresight analysis, a Central and Eastern Europe Report and 12 Country reports in local languages on the future of agrifood sector after COVID19, incl. Croatia Foresight on the impact of COVID-19 | EIT Food.
We are the people and the time is now!
Research and innovation and its application in industry, cities, manufacturing, agriculture, education and health systems will be the key to supporting Europe’s sustainable and inclusive recovery and reaching the Green Deal targets. The EIT and numerous KIC community programs presented today are a great opportunity for all innovators to test their ideas, get professional support from mentors, connect with colleagues in Europe and the world, but also to receive financial support for their start or development.
Last but not at least less important, the Head of the Science Directorate at the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia, Hrvoje Meštrić, pointed out the determination of the Ministry to work on strengthening and connecting the actors in the system, to enable greater synergy within the system and to improve connections with the sources of funding. We are the generation responsible for our better future and the time to act is now. Join us, let’s work together!
Check the agenda of the event here
Find the slides of EIT KICs activities here
Listen the recording of the event here (lineup approx: 1′-30′ Welcomes by the Ministry, EIT Governing Board and by the Special Advisor of the President; 30′ – 60′ Setting up the scene and Keynote on Jumpstarter; 60′ – 110′ Panel 1 with EIT KICs Hubs in Croatia on ambition, impact and the future; 120′ – 180′ Panel 2 with EIT communities – KIC’s plans and open calls; 180 – 190′ closing remarks by the EIT and RIS.)