Knowledge and Innovation Communities

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.

  • KICs promote an environment where businesses have more access to innovative growth opportunities and new skills.
  • Research, on the other hand, gains new multidisciplinary horizons with both social and economic benefits, as well as resources.
  • Universities can offer students more hands-on teaching, which prepares them for work creatively in such an environment.

“The idea is simple: in diversity is strength.”

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.

A KIC’s organisation and funding

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.

Existing KICs and how to participate 

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.

New KICs for the future

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.

  • 2014: Call for two new projects in Innovation for healthy living and active ageing and Raw materials - sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution;
  • 2016: Another two KIC projects will be funded in Food4Future - sustainable supply chain from resources to consumers and Added-value manufacturing;
  • 2018: One last KIC will be funded under H2020, contingent on the General Work Package 2016-2017, in Urban mobility.

For more information

KIC: EIT ICT labs

KIC InnoEnergy

Climate-KIC

European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT)