EIT Awareness Day held on Tuesday 11 June at the Open Innovation House in Espoo, Finland gathered more than 100 people to learn and discuss about EIT as well as the current and new Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). The event was opened by Director Riitta Maijala from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science sharing the greetings from Minister Krista Kiuru. The Minister was confident that the Horizon 2020 agenda and budget will be decided upon soon.
Impact with closer collaboration
José Manuel Leceta, EIT Director, is expecting a significant budget increase for EIT in order to launch six new KICs by 2019. The decision upon the themes for the new KICs is expected shortly. In the autumn 2013 EIT will organize seminars on the themes and by the end of this year the criteria and guidance documents for the new KICs will be available. EIT is also putting considerable amount of money – 10% of their budget – and effort in strengthening the collaboration between the current KICs.
Collaboration could be strengthened on the national level too, said Marja Makarow, member of the EIT Governing Board and Vice-President of the Academy of Finland. “The Strategic Centers for Science, Technology and Innovation (SHOKs) in Finland should be natural partners for EIT at national level”, Marja explained. The SHOKs are platforms for companies, universities and research institutes to work together in the spirit of open innovation.
The current KICs presented their activities and success stories. EIT ICT Labs was represented by Director Marko Turpeinen from the Helsinki Node. Marko talked about the importance of ICT, it penetrating every level of our lives and how Europe must play a key role in this next industrial revolution. Director Thanh-Tâm Le from France introduced the Climate-KIC and Kenneth Johansson from Sweden KIC InnoEnergy,
Finland competing for a new KIC on raw materials
Finland has taken an active role in building a proposal for the new raw material KIC. Timo Haapalehto from VTT, the national coordinator, described the work “like hitting a moving target” as the exact themes and content for the new KICs are not yet known. Timo was enthusiastic about their consortium with partners from 7 EU member states, but also shed light on the challenges of getting many partners from different areas working together. Professor Yrjö Neuvo encouraged Timo and other proposers based on his experience in coordinating the EIT ICT Labs KIC proposal to find strong, well-known companies in the cluster and see that the partners are geographically spread across Europe.