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EIT announces €60m extra support for Covid-19 response

Image: BATMANV, via Shutterstock

Funding will finance innovation projects across EIT networks in areas including climate change and digitisation

Leaders of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology have approved the allocation of €60 million to a crisis-response initiative, which will fund innovations both related and unrelated to the Covid-19 pandemic, the institute announced on 14 May.

“Start-ups, scale-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises have been enormously impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, with investment drying up and significant cash flow issues emerging,” the EIT said.

EIT governing board chair Dirk Jan van den Berg said the initiative would ensure entrepreneurs “benefit from financial support at a critical time [and] help the recovery focus on creating a healthier, greener and more sustainable future for our planet and its people”.

The funding will go to the eight EIT knowledge and innovation communities—covering health, climate change, digitisation, food, sustainable energy, urban mobility, manufacturing and raw materials—which will launch calls in the coming weeks.

No reference was made to the money being an additional allocation from the EU budget. Instead, it appeared to be a rearrangement of existing EIT funds. Jan-Philipp Beck, the chief executive of the EIT Health KIC, recently told Research Professional News he felt “a little bit frustrated” that the EIT had not received extra funding from the EU budget, while other EU innovation funders have.

On the same day, the European Commission drew attention to its European Research Area Corona Platform, which it described as “a one-stop shop for coronavirus-related information on research and innovation funding”. The platform was available online for several weeks before the announcement.