The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will spend almost €3 billion to construct six new knowledge innovation centers (KICs) in the region by 2020.
Some €2.8 billion has been allocated to the expansion, which is split into two waves. Phase one sites are due in 2014 and will focus on developing health services, sustainable food supply chains, and ecological mining of raw materials. Phase two, due in 2018, targets manufacturing processes, using ICT to boost regional security, and urban mobility.
“We are investing in creating the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and strengthening the innovation capacity of the EU,” says Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth.
The total number of KICs will hit 22 once the additional sites are completed. The cross-border facilities aim to boost collaboration between research centers, education facilities and businesses. The existing sites focus on climate change, sustainable energy and ICT.
EIT, which was established as an autonomous European Union body in 2008, predicts a newly-adopted framework for its operations will spur the creation of at least 600 start-up companies in the region, along with training for 25,000 students and 10,000 post-graduates.