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Apply until:

Sep 19, 2024

Funding up to:

€2 500 000

Startup; SME

If you are:

Industry:

Green Tech

Short description:

Expanding the synergy between academia and enterprises to foster innovation and practical collaboration.

ExpectedOutcome:
Projects results are expected to contribute to four (4) or more of the following expected outcomes:

Improved integration of research institutions, Higher Education Institutions, vocational schools, and similar organisations into Europe’s innovation ecosystems by establishing better links with start-ups and start-up networks, accelerators and incubators, business angels and investor communities;
Improved flows of knowledge, skills, and talents between educational institutions and other innovation ecosystem actors at various levels of development, including in the deep tech[1] field in line with the New European Innovation Agenda[2];
Improved skills of all involved ecosystem actors to increase innovation potential, inter-sectoral mobility, and market uptake of new technologies; Targeted are skills necessary and responsive to innovation and labour market needs on digital, green, and entrepreneurial skills, networking skills, risk taking, and in particular in the deep tech field;
Improved connections of educational institutions to high-quality remote testing, validation, and up-scaling of innovations delivered by research and technology infrastructures across the EU;
Improved competence of students, graduates, researchers, and workforce to launch, run, and lead successful and profitable start-ups, including in the deep tech field;
Enhanced availability of local talents equipped with skills to support business acceleration and digitalisation[3];
Enhanced entrepreneurial activity in developing innovation ecosystems and their upscaling and interconnectedness across the EU supported by citizens and local initiatives in order to build innovative solutions to current and future challenges;
Increased engagement and connectedness with other ecosystem actors (e.g. other educational institutions, Technology Transfer Offices, Research and Technology Organisations, local and regional enterprises, private companies, start-ups, early-stage companies, accelerators, incubators, etc.) within and between regions;
Increased youth (self) employability and gender balance in collaborations.


Scope:
Target group(s): Research and innovation ( related actors such as vocational schools, higher education institutions, public authorities in the field of education and employment, innovation agencies, SMEs, deep tech companies, the European Innovation Council (EIC) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) start-ups and industry, research performing organisations, knowledge and technology transfer offices and associations, students and researchers.

Educational and research institutions are considered key places for knowledge production and innovation, and should be well connected within and beyond their respective regional innovation ecosystems. By increasing the connectedness of educational and research institutions, host regions will be able to increase their competitive advantage by fostering and possibly attracting talent, high-tech companies, and boosting innovation output in the area;

However, due to the diverse innovation landscape in Europe, educational and research institutions from better-connected innovation ecosystems benefit from more local accelerators with greater funding opportunities and more qualified business support services compared to their counterparts in other areas, including rural or peripheral areas.

The action should foster the creation of innovation ecosystems with educational and research institutions, or strengthen their existing links. Proposals should outline activities for supporting educational and research institutions to take a greater entrepreneurial role, e.g. through boosting innovation and entrepreneurship within their activities. The action should also ensure that educational and research institutions’ assets and vision are articulated clearly and in line with respective regional specialisations (such as smart specialisation strategies), so they can easily be integrated into innovation ecosystems and economic value chains.

The proposals should leverage best practices of the private and public sector in the EU's well performing innovation hubs and enhance collaborations between businesses with R&I actors in educational and research institutions. The proposals should build on the educational and research institutions' focus areas and relationship to innovation, matching regional and business interests (and where relevant complement smart specialisation strategies), in order to maximize each stakeholders’ strengths and accelerate progress. The proposals should outline activities that will foster connectedness of the innovation ecosystems while preventing brain drain and encourage talent to stay in emerging regions, including rural areas. Only by providing local talents, including female talents, with knowledge and opportunities to contribute to the local private sector or develop their own businesses, local innovation ecosystems can expand based on sustainable and inclusive growth. The proposals should valorise high levels of technical skills, including in deep tech, in developing innovation ecosystems with hands-on knowledge and experiences in business management and international scale-up processes.

The action supports co-designed programmes of activities of at least two (2) years, proposed jointly by educational institutions, research institutions, and other R&I actors from ‘emerging’ and ‘moderate’ innovation ecosystems and the private sector from innovation hubs (‘strong innovators’ and ‘innovation leaders’), to ensure better connectedness between higher education institutions and research organisation with other actors of innovation ecosystems, for example:

Engagement of business experts into the implementation of networking activities and building innovation ecosystem around the university/research institution;
Engagement of students, graduates, researchers and workforce from various disciplines and departments into the innovation ecosystem, with a focus on networking and building networks around educational and research institutions as centres of gravity, and engaging in companies’ structures and business processes;
Engagement of students and researchers in start-ups from both their immediate local environment and beyond (regional, national, transnational) working with various actors from the innovation ecosystem to experience what starting and running a venture entails, such as raising funds, pitching events, creating, editing, and adapting business models in the creation process from idea to market, etc.;
Creation of synergies between students, graduates, researchers, innovators, education institutes, research performing organisations, and business partners, locally, at EU level, and globally targeting the creation of networks and communities of practices in the field of deep tech to stimulate the market uptake of results and new technologies, as well as their co-creation.

The proposed programmes of activities should ensure gender-balanced participation opportunities.

To ensure that the impact of the action goes beyond consortium members and their respective countries, it is encouraged that the selected consortia work closely with innovation agencies from their respective territories and beyond, and seek synergies with relevant EU initiatives in the field of university-business cooperation, such as knowledge and innovation alliances under the Erasmus+ programme or the EIT Knowledge Innovation Communities (KICs) to allow for complementarities and possible use of already existing EIT KICs' knowledge, expertise, networks, communities or platforms such as those developed under the EIT Initiative on Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education[4]that focuses on strengthening partnerships between higher education and businesses including developing innovation and business support services.

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