Investment in Research and Innovation in Europe: it should be more, wiser and better

04 April 2013 Author: EIFonline

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is a body of the European Union established in March 2008 with a mission to increase European sustainable growth and competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of the EU.

To do so, the EIT has created integrated structures (Knowledge and Innovation Communities), which link the higher education, research and business sectors to one another thereby boosting innovation and entrepreneurship. The KICs focus on priority topics with high societal impact, currently: Climate change mitigation (Climate-KIC), Information and Communication Technologies (EIT ICT Labs), Sustainable Energies (KIC InnoEnergy). (For more information: 

On 20 March EIF hosted a breakfast debate on the Future Internet and the Challenges of EIT. The event offered an opportunity to discuss the future challenges of EIT in fostering EU’s innovation capacity and competitiveness. Lambert van Nistelrooij, MEP and EIF Governor, chaired this discussion. 

Prof. Dr. Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT ICT Labs, was first of the panel speakers. He presented EIT ICT Labs and Education and Innovation (start-ups) initiatives that the institution is running at the moment. He spoke about their work to support SMEs in the European level. He elaborated on the importance of ICT and a role of government in supporting innovation of ICT: government should be a smart investor not a grant giver. 

Listen to Willem Jonker’s speech:


Zoran Stancic, Deputy Director General at DG CONNECT, European Commission was another panellist that morning. He spoke about EIT’s importance at the European level. Mr. Stancic stressed that there is a need for more, wiser and better investment in research and innovation in the European level.  He also presented Commission’s activities in the European Union, Member States and companies to achieve it.

Listen to Zoran Stancic’s speech:


Magnus Madfors, Director, R&D Policy at Ericsson and member of the Executive Steering Board of EIT ICT Labs presented industry’s approach on EIT. He spoke about the need to change the mind-set of partners to see EIT as a venture company and not another funding institution.

Listen to Magnus Madfors’ speech:


The speakers continued the debate with questions on the networks of excellence, smart specialization instrument which would new members stated to buy excellence, creation of hubs in Europe. Also, chairing MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij presented his report on Smart Specialisation Connecting European Top Performers (PDF download).


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