Technology flagship for Europe

The European Commission has proposed the creation of a European Institute of Technology to act as a flagship for excellence in higher education, research and innovation.


The European Commission has proposed the creation of a European Institute of Technology (EIT) to act as a flagship for excellence in higher education, research and innovation.



The proposal follows a wide consultation of more than 700 public and expert representatives.



“If Europe is to remain competitive, then we must ensure that we improve the relationship between education, research and innovation,” said Ján Figel, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture, and Multilingualism. “It is a common perception that in Europe this relationship does not work as well as it could. Europe consistently falls short in turning R&D results into commercial opportunities, innovations and jobs.”



The EIT’s structure would be based on two levels: a Governing Board with a small supporting administration and a set of Knowledge Communities, distributed all over Europe, carrying out the activities in strategic cross-disciplinary areas. The EIT is expected to receive funding from a variety of sources including the EU, the MemberStates and the business community.



The name EIT was chosen for its resemblance to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the EIT’s model for linking academia and industry. The EIT aims to attract top academics and partner them with companies which develop and exploit new technologies, combining research with innovation management skills. It will also offer opportunities bring in private finance in return for commercialisation of research.



The Commission will put forward a formal proposal before the end of 2006. If the legal instrument establishing the EIT can be adopted in 2008, the Governing board could be appointed in early 2009, along with the first staff. The establishment of the knowledge communities would then start in 2009.