Tibor Navracsics, the new European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, visited the EIT and EIT ICT Labs in Budapest on the 28th of November 2014.
"The EIT and EIT ICT Labs in Budapest offer a unique approach to education that is focused on the development of entrepreneurship and innovation skills, helping to boost innovation in Europe and create new, high quality jobs. This is exactly what Europe needs," said Commissioner Navracsics, who also had the opportunity to greet the first graduates of EIT ICT Labs Master School via video-conferencing.
Commissioner Navracsics, who took office on 1 November 2014, visited the EIT together with Peter Olesen, Chairman of the EIT Governing Board, and Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director, he met young Hungarian and other Central-Eastern European innovators who benefit from EIT ICT Labs activities in Budapest.
"Education is one of the key pillars of our innovation activities. We have developed an education model that is tailored to the needs of the European innovation system and which strongly connects students with business and research," says Martin Kern, EIT Interim Director. "The hallmark of EIT educational programmes at Master and PhD levels is not only to educate students to have technical knowledge, but also how to apply this knowledge to solve real life problems, to become more innovative and entrepreneurial," added Kern. To date, over 200 students have already graduated from EIT-labelled degree programmes across Europe, with many more to come as the EIT is rapidly expanding its activities and reach.
Boosting an innovative ICT ecosystem in Hungary and Central-Eastern Europe
The EIT enhances Europe's ability to innovate by supporting young entrepreneurial talents and new ideas through its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) – integrated partnerships bringing together business, research and higher education. The EIT's first three KICs operate from innovation hubs spread across the EU and one of them, the EIT ICT Labs Associate Partner Group, is based in Budapest. This is a consortium of Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) and their industrial partners. "EIT ICT Labs is all about innovation and entrepreneurial education in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Europe. Via our activities from Budapest we drive entrepreneurship in Hungary as well as other Central and Eastern European countries" said Willem Jonker, CEO of the EIT ICT Labs.
Among others, a Research & Development programme with nearly 20 ICT projects has been running in 2013 and 2014. Its themes included smartphone data sharing, digital solutions that help organise urban mobility in cities, ICT solutions for teaching and learning, and technologies enabling effective security and privacy methods. Over 200 researchers and 60 students participate in the Research, Development and Innovation projects coordinated by EIT ICT Labs in Budapest.
The EIT ICT Labs Master School cooperates with leading Hungarian universities, ELTE and BME and offers a unique programme consisting of a technical major with an innovation & entrepreneurship minor. The EIT ICT Labs Budapest Doctoral Training Centre, established in 2013, provides Innovation & Entrepreneurship courses for PhD students of the ICT Doctoral Schools of ELTE and BME. "These programmes combine excellent theoretical education with entrepreneurial skills and give students the opportunity to work with leading European research facilities and leading business partners." says professor András Kisfaludi, Vice-Rector of Eötvös Loránd University. Dorottya Maksay, now a graduate from the EIT ICT Labs Master School went on to win the EIT CHANGE Awards in 2013, wowing the jury with her innovative and social idea for a start-up called Homebuddy. Dorottya is developing Homebuddy, a website that enables students and older people to help each other. Older people rent out rooms in their own homes to students at low cost. In return students help with cleaning, shopping and other chores. Simple, but brilliant.
At the same time as the Commissioner visited EIT ICT Labs Budapest, the first Graduation Ceremony of EIT ICT Labs Master School took place at the Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris. To utilise this coincidence the locations were connected via video-conferencing system so Commissioner Navracsis had the opportunity to greet and talk directly with the 47 fresh graduates who will be Europe's entrepreneurs of the future. Read more about the first graduation ceremony of the EIT ICT Labs Master School.
Contact - Andrea Boródi