What makes a successful Innovation Community?

The idea of an EIT Innovation Community is straightforward and, in itself, an innovation.

It is an integrated partnership, operating within the EIT Community, at the core of which are research organisations, educational institutions, businesses (including SMEs) and other innovation stakeholders such as public authorities or NGOs. 

An Innovation Community is innovation in action. Its work is world-class, and covers the entire value chain from education to research to business creation, demonstration, start-up incubation, marketing, communication and sales. It is a living entity which connects people and organisations – a dynamic partnership, ready to adapt to the changing realities of its field and the emerging needs and challenges of Europe. Yet, it is clearly a part of, and a contributor to, the whole EIT Community and embodies the EIT’s core values: impact, excellence and partnership.

Submitting a proposal to start an EIT Innovation Community differs from applying to EU grant programmes, due to the partnership and the level of ambition required. In your proposal, you will need to demonstrate your ambitious but pragmatic effort to work together with the best players to find excellent solutions; deliver real products, services and jobs; create new industry sectors and markets; renew and give new impetus to existing sectors and markets; and make a lasting change in the way Europe thinks and acts on innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovation Community partners must also understand the EIT’s unique innovation model and be committed to the EIT mission.

An EIT Innovation Community must be born of a strong desire to do things differently, and strengthen the EIT community spirit with like-minded people and organisations that are ready to experiment and operate at the boundaries of their innovation ecosystems. It must pioneer new solutions to society’s biggest challenges. It must be run with business logic and an entrepreneurial mind-set. And it must innovate.  

A successful EIT Innovation Community integrates the Knowledge Triangle 

What else must successful Innovation Communities do? They start with impact – an EIT Innovation Community’s overarching principle. they must also have:

  • a long-term strategy
  • a diverse and excellent partnership
  • a focus on people and talent
  • top quality governance and management
  • a legal entity suited to its needs
  • an integrated network of EIT Innovation Hubs
  • a sustainable business model and financial plan
  • a policy for intellectual property
  • adopted the EIT Community brand
  • a communications plan supporting the EIT brand
  • a plan for dissemination
  • a  plan to unlock the untapped innovation potential across Europe through the EIT RIS
  • an  eye for synergies

And a successful Innovation Community needs more detail. Where to get more detail? Download the Framework of Guidance for the EIT's 2018 Call for Proposals.