European innovation to be scaled to a global level

European innovation was dealt a helping hand last month when officials from the European Innovation Council (EIC) and European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will see the two join forces to keep European innovation in Europe and project it to the level required to compete on a global scale.

Speaking as part of the virtual event Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said, “Europe needs to work together to compete globally in innovation’ and the signing of the memorandum ‘shows that we are ready to do this.’

“I am proud that the new Innovation initiative, the European Innovation Council, has come together to join forces with our existing initiative the European Institute of Innovation and Technology,” she continued.

“Some are saying that Europe is lagging behind in the field of innovation, that’s not acceptable for me. I would like to say that for me Europe has huge potential in the field of innovation,” she said. The synergy of research, education, and investment from the two innovation bodies ‘to scale up and work together to complete the knowledge triangle.”

“With EIT and EIC working together innovators will be able to access the support they need at the right time and the right place,” she added.

Signe Ratso, Deputy Director-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission described the EIC as ‘the new kid on the block.’ But also highlighted the impact that the Council has already had in its two-year pilot phase.

“In the last year alone, it attracted close to 14,000 applications from innovative start-ups and SMEs, and EIC supported companies that have attracted more than €5bn in private investment,” she said.

“We have had a great success with the EIC but I am convinced it can go further and faster in partnership with EIT,” she added.

Mark Ferguson, Chair of the EIC Advisory Board said that they “want to maximise the number of innovative companies that grow and scale in Europe and provide major opportunities for the innovators but provide great returns to the European citizens both in terms of jobs and growing the economy and addressing important problems such as the green agenda.”

“We want to work hand in glove with the EIT KICs in order to stimulate business and finance those businesses so that they can grow,” he said. “It’s very important that we move on to execution, the difference between dreams and reality is execution and the EIT and the EIC intend to execute this cooperation, we’ve already started, and you’ll see over the next year, and longer, the fruits of that collaboration. The real aim is to make sure that Europe emerges as a very strong leader in the innovation space – it’s very important that Europe is investing heavily and competes on a global scale in the innovation space.”

The collaboration comes as part of a wider ecosystem that the EU is putting in place under Horizon Europe the new EU research and innovation programme.

Fiona Alston is a freelance journalist based in Ireland covering tech, innovation, start-ups and interesting SMEs. Alston is also passionate about athletics, health and horses having competed in triathlons, equestrian events and horse racing, and her lived experience comes through when covering sports personalities or fitness features. Growing up on the family farm in Scotland, Alston graduated from the University of Sunderland with a BA (Hon.) in Broadcast Journalism, and is frequently published in The Irish Times, The Business Post, RTÉ and 4i Mag.