As part of the EU’s collective efforts to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is announcing the launch of the “EIT Crisis Response Initiative”. The EIT Governing Board has decided to mobilise EUR 60 million of additional funding to innovators powering high-impact solutions that tackle this unprecedented social and economic challenge. The financing will allow the launch of new innovation projects to address the immediate crisis as part of the ‘Pandemic Response Projects’, and will support highly innovative start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs crucial to the economy’s fast recovery to benefit from additional funding under the ‘Venture Support Instrument’.
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, responsible for the EIT says, “In a time of crisis such as we are facing today, we have to ensure that resources are targeted to deliver results expeditiously. We are ensuring financial support is increased and disbursed more quickly to those who are working on the most promising answers to the difficult questions COVID-19 poses. Thanks to the EIT Crisis Response Initiative, innovators in the EU will benefit from additional support helping them to overcome this unprecedented situation and continue delivering innovative solutions for Europe and its citizens.”
Dirk Jan van den Berg, Chair of the EIT Governing Board, adds, “To win the fight against the disruption COVID-19 has wreaked on Europe, we must work closely together and mobilise our resources. I have been impressed by entrepreneurs’ resilience; the EIT Crisis Response Initiative will ensure they benefit from financial support at a critical time. It will also help the recovery focus on creating a healthier, greener and more sustainable future for our planet and its people.”
The new EIT initiative consists of two main tracks of activities to be implemented by the EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities across Europe:
- Venture Support Instrument: Start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs have been enormously impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, with investment drying up and significant cash flow issues emerging. Additional EIT support (financing, technical assistance and network) will help highly innovative ventures weather the crisis and accelerate their growth.
- Pandemic Response Projects: More than ever, innovations and new solutions are needed to tackle the current crisis and prevent its resurgence. The EIT ecosystem is agile and will mobilise innovators to address the COVID-19 crisis impact, both in terms of the immediate health concerns and the wider response needed.
The EUR 60 million financing will power innovations in health, climate change, digitisation, food, sustainable energy, urban mobility, manufacturing and raw materials. Reflecting the EIT innovation model’s flexibility, the EIT’s eight Knowledge and Innovation Communities have responded decisively to the crisis and will launch additional pan-European calls for these activities in the coming weeks.