As the European Commission prepares to launch its proposal for “Horizon Europe”, the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, EUA proposes a broad and comprehensive design of the European Innovation Council to benefit society.
From EUA’s perspective, the EIC’s main mission in Horizon Europe should be the enhancement of Europe’s societal welfare and competitiveness through research-based knowledge. This will help create jobs with high added-value through driving innovation in its broadest sense. It should be open to beneficiaries from all sectors and should consider the strong relation between investment in innovation deriving from research, investment in the development of highly-skilled human talent and the resulting economic and social innovation. Education and training should be an integral part of European innovation policies.
In its recently-published paper, the Association outlines four key elements that will be necessary in securing the success of the EIC, namely its role in 1) reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; 2) educating and training the next generation of entrepreneurs and highly-skilled citizens; 3) increasing the number of start-ups and spin-offs at universities; 4) exploring innovative and responsible monitoring mechanisms.
EUA’s recommendations also highlight that the EIC should act as a coordinating body and address all forms of innovation, including social and cultural. Funding for the EIC should be based on fresh funds without repercussions for other pillars of Horizon Europe. The selection of proposals must be based on a bottom-up approach without predetermining specific fields for support. In addition, the EIC’s governance should include representatives of all relevant public and private sectors and base its decisions on transparent, holistic evaluation procedures.
EUA also underlines the importance of establishing a clear relationship between the EIC and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. Finally, the Association proposes to offer dedicated funding streams for supporting intersectoral mobility of entrepreneurial students and early-career researchers as crucial measures in strengthening the links between education, research and innovation through the EIC.