26 Sep 2007   |   News

Now it’s the EIIT, says Parliament

The European Parliament gave its formal blessing to the launch of a new pan-European technology institute next year – but insisted that it include “innovation” in the title.

Commission President Barroso: his idea – slightly changed – has now been approved by the European Parliament.

The European Parliament gave its formal blessing to the launch of a new pan-European technology institute next year – but insisted that its name be the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, rather than the original European Commission proposal that lacked “innovation” in the title.

The EIIT began life in 2006 as a surprise proposal from EU President José Manuel Barroso to create in Europe something like Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the US university famed for its effective system of moving ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace. But the plan immediately provoked opposition from Europe’s leading research universities, who feared it would simply become another hungry mouth trying to get fed by EU research funds.

Eighteen months later, the plan has been radically revised – and is now to start life as a pilot programme for a “virtual” university. Its central governing board will simply coordinate multi-partner research projects – so-called Knowledge and Innovation Communities – to involve academia and industry. Plans for it to grant degrees were scrapped, and an early fight over its possible location led to the decision to make it virtual, rather than endowed with a full bricks-and-mortar campus. Its small administrative office, the Parliament said, should be located close to an existing centre of research and learning in Europe.


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