Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs)

The Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) are the EIT's tool for fostering innovation.

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 Adobe Stock / sdecoret

The mission of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) is to foster innovation activities and investments with added European value. This also includes supporting the creation of innovative start-ups as well as the development of innovative companies in addition to the EIC and InvestEU. KICs support experimentation, prototyping and demonstration, especially in areas of key economic, environmental and societal interest. One of the ways KICs support these activities is by issuing calls for proposals for innovation-oriented research projects. In addition, KICs are responsible for developing education and training activities, especially at master and doctoral levels, as well as vocational training courses.

KIC Structure

KICs are largely independent in their internal structure and administration. KIC participants can be organisations active in the knowledge triangle consisting of higher education, research and innovation. At least a minimum of three partner organizations located in different Member States are required to form a KIC.

Each KIC has regional connection points, so-called "co-location centres" or "innovation hubs". Each member state has access to representation in each KIC.

Funding of the KICs

The EIT supports the start-up phase of each new KIC with a grant of up to 4 million euro ("Start-up Grant"). A gradual increase to the annual funding, up to a total of more than 80 million euro, is possible, provided that the KICs achieve their targeted results. KICs are also expected to attract significant investments from public and private sources, multiplying and gradually replacing EIT investments in order to achieve long-term financial sustainability. This financial stability should be achieved at the latest after 15 years.

Currently Funded KICs

A total of eight KICs have been established since the start of the EIT. Another two KICs are to be established under Horizon Europe. The first EIT-funded KICs were announced on 17 December 2009 and started their work in spring 2010, still under the 7th EU Research Framework Programme. This generation of KICs will transition to financial independence in 2024.