Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) reflect the concept of the Knowledge Triangle: higher education, research and business must all work together to reach a Knowledge Society. In these communities, members share knowledge, information and skills to make their collaboration particularly effective.
Academia, education and business all benefit.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) supports and provides funding for the creation of KICs. Its objective is to assemble a variety of actor representing the Knowledge Triangle as a whole, in order to bolster innovation while addressing societal challenges.
KICs deliver innovation support services from fundamental research up to the marketing of a product or service, such as incubating new product ideas, offering innovative trainings, or creating networks.
KICs are quite autonomous network organisation. They need to develop their own partnership structure and define their own objectives based on a specific business plan. The EIT will fund up to 25% of their initial capital; the KIC core partners then need to mobilise further funding from associate partners, and other leading actors in education, research and business.
“KICs have already trained more than 1,000 young entrepreneurs, incubated more than 100 new companies, and developed a wide range of new products and services.”
KICs are created following a competition opened by a Call for proposals. Groups of research organisations, businesses, universities, and others bid their project to the EIT. Each project is then evaluated on the basis of three criteria (Strategy, Operations, and Impact). There is only one winner per KIC. The proposal should include the KIC’s structure, objectives and business plan as conceived by the core group.
Three KICs already exist, created under the 7th Framework-Programme, on Climate change (Climate-KIC), Information and Communication technologies (EIT ICT Labs) and Energy (KIC InnoEnergy).
KICs issue specific calls for proposals for smaller amounts where external partners can participate. To explore opportunities how to join the running KICs, please contact them directly.
The EIT was granted, under Horizon 2020, a budget of €2.7 billion for the development of five further KICs, the consolidation of the existing ones, as well has to support the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme.
Three EIT Calls for proposals will be launched in 2014, 2016 and 2018 regarding the new KICs.