Impact in the EIT RIS-eligible countries and territories

Offices in the region
EIT grants went to RIS area countries
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EIT Community supported ventures
Participants in EIT Community education and training activities
Innovations launched by EIT Community-backed local ventures
Active partners in the region

11.5% of the total EIT Grant dedicated to the EIT Community was allocated to RIS activities in 2021-2022 with the level of funding coming close to matching the funding during 2014-2020.
The data provided above pertains to the period of 2021-2022.

new start-ups created in EIT Jumpstarter
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Since 2017, we have equipped 970 innovators with business skills and access to the largest network of European innovators. Ninety-seven created new start-ups, which in 2017-2023 attracted more than 56M EUR of external funds. They all offer innovative products or services, solutions that address the most pressing global challenges in agrifood, healthcare, energy and climate, raw materials, manufacturing, cities and urban mobility. Moreover, through a dedicated Rebuild Ukraine cohort, EIT Jumpstarter has supported solutions that can restore the Ukrainian economy.

audience engaged from the RIS in EIT InnoEnergy’s Business Booster
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EIT InnoEnergy’s start-up programmes pay special attention to the EIT RIS areas by providing them with more significant support and promoting their activities. EIT InnoEnergy is cooperating with renowned science bloggers, inviting them to its flagship event, “The Business Booster (TBB)”, in Lisbon. There, the bloggers can meet start-ups from RIS countries in EIT InnoEnergy’s portfolio. 

Start-ups attracted by EIT Health’s Attract to Invest programme
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EIT Health’s Attract To Invest programme prepares companies with products or services in the European market for successful investment rounds. Dedicated consultants and investors pose real-life questions and challenges through Board Meeting Simulation sprints. Finalists are further supported through funding, networking, mentoring, and other fundraising training services. The first edition of Attract to Invest (2022) has raised over 70 applicants. 

Students on internship in European industrial partners
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The EIT RawMaterials RIS Internship programme offers structured one-to-three-month internships for MSc raw materials (RM) students willing to work at organisations in the RIS region. Around 367 students work in 300 companies, while it is estimated that about 40 students will remain employed in the industry after graduation. Train-the-trainer activities focused on 270 industry supervisors will additionally increase the interns’ entrepreneurship/business skills and broaden University-Business Cooperation (UBC) activities. The programme encourages graduates in the raw materials field to seek employment in a RIS country and reduce brain drain from the East and South-East Europe region.

Cities’ sustainability challenges are solved in EIT Urban Mobility’s RAPTOR Program
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Rapid Applications for Transport (RAPTOR)  is an innovation programme that takes the urban mobility challenges of cities and runs a competition to find the best solutions from start-ups/SMEs. It provides a period of solution development, capped with an in-situ demonstration. Thanks to its success, RAPTOR started a special pilot in 2022 dedicated to eastern and central European RIS cities such as Prague, Riga, Tallinn, Cluj-Napoca, and Bratislava. EIT Urban Mobility supports the competition winners financially with a support package worth EUR 50,000. 

Prize pool offered to agri-food innovators in the RIS

EIT Food, together with its EIT Food Hubs, organises one of Europe’s largest start-up competitions in the agri-food sector in 15 EIT RIS countries of Eastern and Southern Europe. In each country, up to 10 innovative agri-food entrepreneurs or early-stage start-ups compete for two main Innovation Prizes of EUR 5 000 and EUR 10 000.

Who we are

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the EIT Community have shifted from a cooperation model (siloed, individual) to a collaboration model (cross-functional, connected, collective). According to the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda 2021-2027, the EIT seeks to achieve a greater impact and add value to its activities through Cross-Knowledge and Innovation Communities activities and shared services. The EIT Community Strategic Regional Innovations Cluster was created to reflect to the greatest extent possible the above goal by allowing all participating KICs to be involved in the delivery of meaningful multidisciplinary projects.

The Cluster’s geographical focus covers countries eligible for the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS). According to the EIT RIS Implementation Framework 2022-2027, the Cluster fully contributes to the integration of these countries into the KICs’ communities, having a special focus also on Ukraine and the Western Balkans. The Cluster is a unique initiative in which different EIT KICs, having their own corporate structures and business models, work closely together. EIT Health leads the Cluster.

Countries eligible to take part in the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (2021-2024):

  • EU Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.
  • Horizon Europe Associated Countries*: Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine.
  • Outermost Regions: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion, Martinique, Mayotte and Saint-Martin (France), the Azores and Madeira (Portugal), and the Canary Islands (Spain).

*These third countries, which are all listed in the European Innovation Scoreboard, will be fully eligible for the EIT RIS, following the successful conclusion of individual Horizon Europe Association Agreements.

Who can participate?

Any entity from the EIT RIS-eligible country or region can participate in our activities.

Through the EIT RIS, each EIT Knowledge and Innovation Community (EIT KIC) will engage with local innovators – individuals such as students, researchers, entrepreneurs, or organisations such as universities, research labs, NGOs, SMEs, cities and regions. The EIT KICs involve the local players in education, business creation and acceleration activities, as well as innovation-driven research.

What are the EIT RIS objectives?

The overarching objective of the EIT RIS is to contribute to the advancement of the innovation performance of the targeted countries and territories by strengthening the capacity of their innovation enablers and actors and linkages among them. These actors are usually business accelerators, incubators, start-ups, scale-ups, businesses including SMEs, agencies, educational and research institutions and their infrastructures, etc.).

More specifically, during the 2021-2027 period, the EIT RIS shall aim to deliver on the following objectives:
  • improve the innovation capacities of the local ecosystem, via capacity building activities and closer interactions between the local innovation actors (such as, clusters, networks, regional public authorities, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), research organisations, Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutions, SMEs) and their activities;
  • support the objective of attracting and facilitating the integration of potential new partners in the EIT KICs and link local innovation ecosystems to pan-European innovation ecosystems, including through the establishment of Co-Location Centres (CLCs) and EIT Community RIS Hubs, as part of a “place-based” innovation approach;
  • used as a bridge towards relevant Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3s);
  • leverage additional private and public funding, with particular attention to European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

How is the EIT RIS implemented?

The EIT RIS initiative is an integral part of all the EIT KICs’ activities. The EIT KICs have a certain degree of flexibility in designing their own EIT RIS activities, in line with their multi-annual strategies and priorities. These activities contribute towards achieving the EIT’s objectives and deliver the desired outcomes and and impact, especially in terms of widening participation in the EIT Community.

All EIT KICs undertake a “place-based” innovation approach and engage local organisations to serve as EIT Community RIS Hubs in EIT RIS countries and regions. The primary roles of the EIT Community RIS Hub are to ensure the visibility of the EIT Community and raise awareness of activities and cooperation opportunities for local players representing education, business and research areas, as well as, attracting and facilitating the engagement of new participants in EIT KIC activities. EIT Community RIS Hubs also liaise with the relevant national, regional and local authorities and facilitate the sharing of EIT Innovation Community expertise with them.

How is the EIT RIS funded?

The EIT budget devoted to implementing EIT RIS activities, in the 2021-2027 period, will be at least 10% and maximum 15% of the overall EIT funding for existing and new KICs. The EIT grants funds to each EIT KIC for EIT RIS implementation. Each EIT KIC uses these funds in line with its strategy and designs its activities accordingly. Activities under EIT RIS aim at attracting and facilitating the integration of potential new partners with the EIT KICs, as well as, linking local innovation ecosystems to pan-European innovation ecosystems.



Learn more about participating Knowledge Innovation Communities 

Success stories


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