Connecting the innovation chain by reinforcing synergies: COST and EIT sign MoU


The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to boost cooperation between scientists, businesses, and innovators.

On 24 February 2022, Dr Ronald de Bruin, the COST Association Director, and Martin Kern, EIT Director signed a new cooperation agreement to foster and strengthen collaborations within the EIT and COST communities.

In the spirit of building a new European Research Area, this partnership between the EIT and COST will enable research institutions, businesses, and citizen to further develop their innovations and explore new market opportunities.

The agreement, in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding between the EIT and COST formalises the mutual commitments both organisations have to create new opportunities for researchers and innovators. Their endeavour marks a step forward to identify areas of collaborations based on common interest. The Memorandum of Understanding enters into force on the day, following its signature by both parties.

COST’s networks are effectively bridging the innovation divide and participation gaps in Europe and providing a large spectrum of opportunities for young generations of researchers and innovators. Interdisciplinary research often results in discoveries, innovations and breakthroughs that are crucial in the ambition to boost jobs, economic growth, investments, and improve the quality of life of Europe’s citizens and the environment.

As part of its strategic priorities COST has introduced additional activities such as the COST Innovators Grant, which aimed at exploring innovation potential, to further bridge scientific research performed in COST Actions and marketable applications and/or follow‐up funding.

“It is a great moment when the longest standing and one of the youngest European RTDI funding organisations joining forces to further connect the innovation chain. Our intention is to fully explore synergies by providing networking opportunities and follow-up funding opportunities for researchers and innovators. The cooperation with the EIT will further reinforce the new European Research Area and will strengthen Europe’s capacity to address scientific, technological and societal challenges.”

Dr Ronald de Bruin, COST Director

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an EU body created by the European Union in 2008 to strengthen Europe’s ability to innovate. The EIT is an integral part of Horizon Europe, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research, and Innovation. The EIT supports the development of dynamic, long-term European partnerships among leading companies, research labs and higher education. These partnerships are called EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities, and each is dedicated to finding solutions to a specific global challenge, from climate change and sustainable energy to healthy living and food.

“Our aim as Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem of almost 3000 partners from business, education and research is to deliver innovations to solve global challenges. Our cooperation with COST will allow us to work in a complimentary way on shared priorities, for example to build innovation capacity in the Western Balkan countries. By working as partners, new opportunities will open up for our researchers and innovators.”

Martin Kern, EIT Director

By signing the Memorandum of Understanding, COST and the EIT have agreed to cooperate on identifying potential synergies and complimentary activities, focused on their mutual widening and Western Balkan efforts. This will serve the joint ambition of delivering stronger impact, value, sustainable economic growth, jobs, better livelihoods, and high multipliers on public investments.

Photo of two men standing side by side jointly holding a document

As a first concrete step, both entities will look into the possibilities to link the EIT Jumpstarter’ initiative, a joint EIT Innovation Community pre-accelerator programme that supports innovators from Central-Eastern and Southern-European countries. It could mean an interesting follow-up funding opportunity for the COST Innovator Grantees.

To promote scientific research and spread excellence geographically, the COST Association organises Info Days, which are dedicated sessions aimed at encouraging researchers and innovators to participate in COST activities.  While the EIT organises similar activities in targeted countries under the Awareness days, providing participants an opportunity to learn about the EIT and its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC) in the innovation ecosystem.

COST and the EIT are convinced that Research and Innovation are the key drivers for sustainable growth and competitiveness. Better integration of the knowledge triangle and advancing the innovation performance of more countries and their regions across Europe, are necessary preconditions to enhance Europe’s performance in the global economic competition and ensure a sustainable future.

The synergies will create more activities, mutually complementary with huge potential to build upon each other’s impact.

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