Who we are

The EIT is an institute of the European Union established in March 2008.

It is governed by a Governing Board consisting of 22 Members representing a balance of leading individuals active in the education, research and business sectors (including KIC partners). The Governing Board is in charge of setting the overall strategy and direction of the EIT.

The EIT’s operations are led by the EIT Director, José Manuel Leceta, and carried out by its staff at EIT Headquarters, which was set up in 2009 and is now located in Budapest, Hungary.

The EIT’s activities are supported by the legally and operationally independent EIT Foundation.


The EIT’s mission is to increase European sustainable growth and competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of the Member States and the EU (Article 3, EIT Regulations). This translates into developing a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. To do so, the EIT has created integrated structures (Knowledge Innovation Communities, or KICs), which link the higher education, research and business sectors to one another thereby boosting innovation and entrepreneurship. The KICs focus on priority topics with high societal impact, currently: Climate Change and Mitigation, Sustainable Energy and Information Communication Technology (ICT), to be expanded over time.

In short, the EIT’s mission is to facilitate the following transitions:

  • from idea to product  
  • from lab to market
  • from student to entrepreneur

by integrating the three sides of the Knowledge Triangle (higher education, research and business) in areas of high societal need.

What we do

Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs)

The vehicle that ensures that the EIT vision and policies are translated into effective actions, and that reaches out to individuals on the ground are the KICs. Much of the EIT’s efforts to date have been focused on establishing the current three KICs. They are organised as separate legal entities, which provide the physical infrastructure to bring together individuals from universities, research centres and businesses in geographical locations (16 centres) where all KIC partners work together face-to-face. The KICs implement specific projects, educational programs, funding schemes, etc. The EIT is monitoring the KICs to ensure that its aims are being effectively developed. More about the KICs and current actions


Part of the EIT’s mission is to create the conditions and framework that will allow a fresh entrepreneurship culture to flourish – both as a mindset and as an action. Its strategy is therefore based on a two-pronged approach: 1) by way of education, to create a cultural shift in the perception of entrepreneurship and risk taking, and 2) by encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship through concrete entrepreneurship activities such as the EIT Academy and EIT Award. More about the EIT and entrepreneurship


The EIT is developing higher education programmes (of Masters and PhD level) with the KIC partners. The aim is to create an EIT brand of excellence across European higher education institutions which will mark out the EIT courses as cutting edge in delivering high quality and innovation results. The courses will integrate entrepreneurship, innovation and risk management content and include mobility and practical business experience aspects. The EIT is also closely involved in supporting its KICs in their development of complimentary educational programmes such as summer schools, student exchanges and revised Bachelor-level curricula. More about the EIT and education

EIT visibility

As the EIT matures its success will build upon its reputation and recognition. In addition to linking to and encouraging the KICs in their innovation task, the EIT’s dedicated Strategy and Communications team will focus on building and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders both in Europe and beyond. It will disseminate KIC results, share knowledge, and maintain close links with other EU bodies with a view to ensure, implement, and develop the EIT strategy.


Facts and figures

EIT headquarters / IVG Hungary Kft


€308.7 million for the  2008 – 2013 period (EU budget)


Date of Birth

11 March 2008

Governing board

  • Chairman : Dr. Martin Schuurmans
  • Vice-Chairman : Prof. Anders Flodström
  • Chairman Elect: Dr. Alexander von Gabain (from 15 September 2011)
  • Number of members: 22 (18 appointed and 4 representative)
  • Meetings per year: at least 4 times per year, plus extraordinary sessions
  • Key responsibilities: steering the overall activities of the EIT, including selection, designation and evaluation of the KICs and appointing key HQ staff members

EIT Headquarters


EIT Foundation

  • Members of the EITF Governing Board: 5
  • Chairman: Christian Jourquin (CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Solvay SA, Director of Solvay America, Inc.)
  • Key responsibility: to promote and support the activities of the EIT

Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs)

  • Number: currently 3 - Climate-KIC (Climate change), EIT ICT Labs (Information and Communication Technology), KIC InnoEnergy (Sustainable energy)
  • Number of KIC partners: total of 206 (66 universities, 53 research institutes, 76 businesses and 11 local/regional agencies
  • Number of co-location centres: 16 in 12 different countries (EU+Switzerland)
  • Budget: EIT contribution of maximum 25% to the KICs' budget