30 Mar 2017   |   News

EIT revives plans to build manufacturing cluster

If EU Commission gives the green light, the project, put on hold by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology last year, will start in January 2018

The EU’s European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is reviving plans to launch a new manufacturing cluster, after parking the project last year, when it received only one application.

Now, following a review by the EIT board of directors, the institute’s interim director Martin Kern said the project is ready to go ahead.

“We did an analysis of what went wrong the last time,” Kern told Science Business. “This time around, there will be a much stronger industry engagement – it was not as strong as it could have been – and we’ll put less emphasis on operational readiness, which may have discouraged competition,” he said.

The new cluster requires the go-ahead from the European Commission, which funds the EIT. If approved, the EIT will be ready to accept submissions from consortia of companies and universities in January 2018.

Kern says the new cluster could make an important contribution to the EU’s re-industrialisation strategy, by developing new products and services, starting new companies, and training a generation of budding entrepreneurs,

“A lot of production has been off-shored,” he said. “We want to see the innovation happening here in Europe.”

The EIT is also considering a second competition on the topic of urban mobility, but this is conditional on the outcome of its midterm review by the Commission.

The EIT, based in Budapest, currently co-funds six other clusters – in information technologies, energy, climate change, life sciences, raw materials technologies and food.

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