The ‘INNOVEIT 2015’ conference is currently underway in Budapest and combines the previously separate events of the EIT Stakeholder Forum, the EIT Awards, the EIT Roundtables and the EIT Alumni Connect events.
The three-day event will discuss and debate the impact and achievements of the EIT and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), the contribution to EU education, research and innovation policies, and encourage the interaction between stakeholders and the EIT-KIC community.
Also taking place during the event are the annual EIT Awards, honouring the most promising European innovation and change leaders. Nominees have been selected from each of the three established KICs in the categories of EIT Venture award, EIT CHANGE Award and EIT Innovators Award.
Speaking before the conference, which he is also addressing, Peter Olesen, chairman of the EIT Governing Board, said: “It’s both exciting and promising to see Europe’s innovative talent turn their entrepreneurial ideas into action. The EIT Awards recognise new ideas that lead to new products and services and that improve our lives, societies and economies. Celebrating these achievements is important not only for their further development, but also for boosting innovation in Europe and securing global competitiveness.”
The conference includes the participation of Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth; EIT interim director Martin Kern; and Big Innovation Centre chief executive Birgitte Andersen. The event will also include the participation of the leaders of the KICs, namely Willem Jonker of EIT ICT Labs, Diego Pavía of KIC InnoEnergy and Bertrand van Ee of Climate-KIC, and the interim CEOs of the new KICs, that is Jens Gutzmer of EIT Raw Materials and Ursula Redeker of EIT Health. Many other speakers will also address the conference.
Added to the diverse attendance of the event are leading start-ups, venture capitalists and research institutes, as well as European policy makers and entrepreneurial students and graduates. Horizon 2020 Projects will be attending the conference in Budapest and providing coverage of the event online and in the next edition of Portal.
In a press briefing the chairman of the EIT said the organisation was bringing together business, education and research “to effectively innovate”.
One of the founders of TomTom and now consumer business managing director, Corinne Vigreux, drew attention to the “extremely worrying” situation facing Europe in light of the competition from Asia and the United States. She said the continent was facing a “wake-up call” and it was important “to aim for radical innovation”.
Speaking to delegates in the first plenary session, Vigreux added that: “Europe had lost some of entrepreneurial spirit”.