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eit DIGITAL: HEI Initiative - Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education
Grantová schémaHORIZON EUROPE
Pilot Call for Proposals
1. Introduction to the HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education
The forthcoming Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA) 2021-20271 sets the strategic direction, priorities and objectives of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (EIT KICs).
One specific objective in the new EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda 2021-2027 is to create systemic impact in higher education at the institutional level, by supporting higher education institutions (HEIs) to increase their innovation and entrepreneurial capacity and better integrate into and engage with innovation ecosystems. By doing so, HEIs will be empowered to become engines of impact and support the realisation of a carbon-neutral, digital, circular and inclusive society.
In order to realise these ambitions, the EIT and EIT KICs have established the HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education.
The HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education has been designed with the aim of increasing the innovation and entrepreneurial capacity in higher education, bringing together HEIs in innovation value chains and ecosystems across Europe. HEIs are encouraged to prepare proposals which will support the development and implementation of six Actions in their institutions, cumulatively leading to transformation and an increase in entrepreneurial and innovation capacity. Although the EIT Strategic
Innovation Agenda 2021-2027 sets out that the majority of funding under the HEI Initiative will go to HEIs which are not currently partners2 of the EIT KICs, the HEI Initiative will unite EIT KIC partners and non- partners to cultivate collaborative relationships and leverage the existing innovation and entrepreneurial knowledge base developed within EIT KICs thus far. Participation in a proposal selected for funding will not result in any obligation to become an EIT KIC partner.
The aim of the pilot HEI Initiative is to extend the impact of the EIT beyond the KICs and thereby contribute to the EIT's core mission of boosting sustainable economic growth and competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of Member States. This is in line with the Horizon Europe goals of fostering entrepreneurial and innovation skills in a lifelong learning perspective, including increasing the capacities of HEIs across Europe.
A central philosophy of the EIT is the integration of the EIT Knowledge Triangle Model3 into all of its activities. HEIs selected to participate in the HEI Initiative will also leverage and use the Knowledge Triangle Model as an enabler, facilitating the creation of systemic, institutional change. Additionally, HEIs selected to participate in the HEI Initiative will contribute to and leverage Smart Specialisation Strategies4, the Regional Innovation Impact Assessment (RIIA) Framework5, as well as align with the goals of the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (EIT RIS)6. This will strengthen the links between HEIs and their local and regional ecosystems and provide an impetus to leverage additional funding sources beyond the funding period of the selected pilot projects.
1.1. Aims and priorities of the HEI Initiative
The scope of the HEI Initiative is broad. It aims to address the need for HEI transformation and the role of HEIs in boosting sustainable economic growth and competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of Member States. More specifically, the HEI Initiative aims to encourage HEIs to look at their own practices and the opportunities for increasing their impact in their ecosystem, and it provides support to HEIs to develop and undertake concrete Actions which are specifically tailored to achieve such enhanced impact. HEIs will, consequently, identify the potential to take a significant step forward in increasing their entrepreneurial and innovation capacity.