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Pact for Skills
Call for proposalsClosed

EIT Higher Education Institutions (HEI) initiative

The Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) initiative 2023-2025 will create impact in higher education at an institutional level by supporting HEIs to increase their innovation and entrepreneurial capacity and better engage with innovation ecosystems.


Publication date
1 June 2022
Opening date
Deadline model
Deadline date
28 September 2022, 17:00 (CEST)
Level of funding
  • EU level




The Higher Education Institutions initiative aims to extend the impact of the EIT reach beyond the KICs (Knowledge and Innovation Communities) and contribute to the EIT's core mission of boosting sustainable economic growth and competitiveness by reinforcing the innovation capacity of Member States, in line with the Horizon Europe goals of fostering entrepreneurial and innovation skills in a lifelong learning perspective, including increasing the capacity of Hight Education Institutions across Europe.

Activities/actions supported

Under this initiative, the EIT shall provide funding as well as specific guidance, expertise and coaching to participating HEIs and target HEIs from across Europe, paying particular attention to HEIs from countries (and regions in those countries) that are moderate and modest innovators and other low performing regions that wish to develop their innovation capacities and strengthen their innovation footprint and smart specialisation strategies.

Particular attention shall be paid to ensuring: an open and inclusive approach to attract HEIs beyond the KICs’ partners aiming for wide geographical coverage; an inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach; a broader participation of women in sectors where they are underrepresented; and a link with the EIT RIS, relevant thematic platforms and smart specialisation strategies, and the Policy Support Facility when appropriate.

Anticipated outcomes

The Higher Education Institutions Initiative will:

  • Facilitate the exchange and implementation of best practices in knowledge triangle integration, including organisational learning, training for up-skilling and re-skilling, coaching and mentoring;
  • Develop action plans on how to address identified needs in areas such as innovation management, start-up creation and development, technology transfer including intellectual property rights management, sustainability and climate neutrality by design, people and organisational management, the integration of gender approaches in innovation and engagement with local stakeholders and civil society; and
  • Implement innovation capacity development action plans and follow-up actions.

Institution providing the funding

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

Size of funding

€40 million



Overview of eligibility criteria

Eligibility criteria include the following:

  • All KICs are invited to participate in the initiative. The KIC Legal Entities (LEs) can participate in the proposal as beneficiaries, one KIC (EIT RawMaterials) will be lead beneficiary.
  • The participating KICs and their individual contributions have to be agreed by all partners participating in the activity. 
  • All entities participating in the project must agree on the main objectives, milestones and annual achievements, as well as the budget distribution.
  • Further entities may participate in the activities as affiliated entities, subgrantees or subcontractors in accordance with the provisions of the grant agreement.

Overview of award criteria

Award criteria inlude the following: 

  • The proposal for the pilot Higher Education Initiative activities will be evaluated against the following award criteria aligned with the Horizon Europe legal framework: excellence, impact and implementation



Application procedures

Applicants must submit their proposal via the Funding and Tenders Portal. The proposal itself consists of two main parts:

Please note that this call is only open to members of KICs (Knowledge and Innovation Communities), i.e. autonomous partnerships of leading higher education institutions, research organisations, companies and other stakeholders in the innovation process that tackles societal challenges through the development of products, services and processes and by nurturing innovative entrepreneurial people. 

Application support available

For additional support, please check the following documents:


Link to funding opportunity

Link to the programme for more info