European Institute of TechnologyThe European Commission proposes to establish a European Institute of Technology (EIT) for several reasons:
- the economic relevance of research has increased substantially, while the EU's share in worldwide knowledge creation has gone down;
- Europeans have been less successful in turning research results into economic assets than their main competitors, while China, India and other states are emerging rapidly as important actors in the knowledge-driven world;
- making the best use of knowledge is a crucial challenge for Europe.
The proposed European Institute of Technology is designed to help achieve these aims by:
- improving knowledge production in Europe and assisting the Lisbon process;
- ensuring a better commercialisation of research results produced in the EU;
- helping to create a ‘knowledge ecosystem’ linking research, innovation and the dissemination of knowledge.
The proposal is based on the 2005 review of the Lisbon Strategy (COM(2005) 24) and the European Council’s call, at Hampton Court, for action to foster world class excellence in research and education in Europe. Following public consultation on a concept of a European Institute of Technology [PDF], a proposal to establish such institute was published on 22 February 2006: Developing a knowledge flagship: the European Institute of Technology, COM(2006) 77 [PDF]. A new Communication in June entitled: The European Institute of Technology: further steps towards its creation (COM(2006) 276 final) provides further information about certain aspects of the proposal.
What is its role?
Intended as a high profile centre of global excellence, attracting top level researchers, the EIT would be a key actor in the European "knowledge triangle" of innovation, research and education, supporting each of these aims individually and reinforcing the bridges between them:
- Education: The EIT would provide world class education following its own distinctive model to MA students and PhD candidates;
- Research: EIT research would cover all areas from basic to applied research with a particular emphasis on trans- or inter-disciplinary areas with a strong innovation potential;
- Innovation: The EIT would develop strong links with the business community to guarantee the economic relevance of its work and orient activities towards social and economic needs.
The EIT's mission would be:
- to carry out postgraduate education, research and innovation in emerging trans- and inter-disciplinary fields
- to develop research and innovation management skills
- to attract the best researchers and students world wide
- to disseminate new organisational and governance models
- to mark the knowledge landscape with a new European identity
The organisation of the European Institute of Technology
The Commission aims to make the EIT an independent organisation with a strong network component that does not replace or duplicate the work of Europe’s existing world class research establishments. The European Institute of Technology would be an institution in its own right, rather than a network of research actors, but not concentrated in a single site.
The EIT would be headed by a Governing Board in charge of selecting the partner organisations, 'branding' the EIT, setting strategic priorities and ensuring academic excellence.
The EIT partner organisations will be organised in "knowledge communities" specialising in trans-disciplinary areas. These would be integrated partnerships between the EIT and universities, research centres or companies, that would second staff and other resources to the EIT. Indeed, knowledge communities would legally be part of the EIT rather than owned by the partners.
The EIT would select knowledge communities and set them up for a period of 10 to 15 years. Their objectives would be well defined, but size, priorities and areas of excellence could adapt to emerging needs.
Legal process and timing
The creation of a European Institute of Technology requires a legal framework, to be proposed in 2006. If there are no significant delays in the legislative process, the EIT is likely to be able to begin its operations in the academic year 2009/2010.
The largest part of EIT expenditure would be for the knowledge communities as the relatively light structure of the Governing Board should reduce the EIT’s administrative expenditure.
The EIT will draw on both public and private funding. However, it is expected that a substantial amount of public core funding will be needed during the initial stages. As knowledge communities develop, the EIT would be expected to draw more on private and competitive financing, including funds from the future European Research Council.
- Communication from the Commission to the European Council (COM(2006) 276 final): "The European Institute of Technology: further steps towards its creation" [PDF]
- Commission Communication (COM(2006) 77): "Implementing the renewed partnership for growth and jobs: Developing a knowledge flagship: the European Institute of Technology [PDF]
- CORDIS News article on COM(2006) 77
- "Working together for growth and jobs. A new start for the Lisbon Strategy" COM(2005) 24
- European Parliament seminar assessing the need for an EIT, Cordis News article
Last updated on: 2011-06-20