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EIT Community boosts innovation in Spain and its leadership in Europe

10th October 2023

  • The Spanish innovation ecosystem met yesterday at an event organised by EIT Community under the title ‘The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the New European Innovation Agenda’. At the event, the importance of the interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach to boost innovation in our country and its leadership in Europe, in line with the new European Innovation Agenda, was discussed. 
  • EIT Community, Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem, has renewed its commitment to innovation in Spain through its various communities and programmes.  In the last two years, EIT has supported hundreds of startups and invested more than €100 million in Spain, helping to bring more than 80 innovative products to market. 

EIT Community, the largest innovation ecosystem in Europe, is a decisive agent for boosting innovation in Spain and contributing to its leadership in Europe. This was stated yesterday by the leaders of the various Knowledge and Innovation Communities in Spain of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. The event, held yesterday in Madrid and organised by EIT Manufacturing, EIT Health, EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Culture & Creativity, EIT Digital, EIT Food, and EIT Urban Mobility, was also attended by the Director General of the CDTI, Javier Ponce, and the Secretary-General of Innovation, Teresa Riesgo, and brought together a large part of the Spanish innovation ecosystem. 

This satellite event of the official agenda organised under the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union brought together a large part of the Spanish innovation ecosystem and emphasised the importance of collaborative and interdisciplinary work promoted by the different EIT Communities to tackle the complex challenges facing today’s society. In particular, several cross-sectoral programmes developed by the EIT Community to boost Spain’s innovative leadership in Europe and to support the New European Innovation Agenda, approved by the Commission in July, were highlighted. This agenda aims to position Europe at the forefront of the new wave of deep–tech innovation and to help develop new technologies to address the most pressing societal challenges and bring them to the market, impacting sectors such as renewable energy, agri-tech, mobility, health, food security and energy independence, among others.   

The impact of the EIT in Spain and the need for cross-sectoral collaboration 

‘The EIT, as Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem, can be proud of its active presence and support to regional innovation in Spain. Through our Knowledge and Innovation Communities we have brought together close to 250 partners from various sectors in Spain, including academic institutions, industry, and research organisations. Together, we have supported hundreds of starts-ups and thousands of students on their innovation journey, investing around € 100 million in the past two years alone, and helping launch over 80 new innovation products on the Spanish markets. Our support will continue to grow as innovation is needed now more than ever to address some of our biggest global challenges and power a more sustainable future for Europe.’  declared Martin Kern, EIT Director.  

In turn, Jean-Marc Bourez, CEO of EIT Health comments that the Covid-19 crisis has revealed multiple challenges in social, economic, and political areas “that require innovative solutions and a deep understanding of the interdependencies and interconnections of various economic and social sectors. Joint and cross-sectoral innovation is key to the sustainability of our societies and to the health and well-being of all.”  

In this line, Caroline Viarouge, CEO of EIT Manufacturing, commented that “Spain and Europe are very well positioned to take advantage of its industry capabilities with strong innovation drives”. To this end, “We should all walk together to convert this opportunity into reality. A winning team is a team that dares to innovate and to co-create in a diverse ecosystem”, said Viarouge, who concluded by quoting Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. 

Talent and the Skills Gap 

One of the pillars of the New European Innovation Agenda is the need to foster, attract and retain technological talent to close the Deep Tech skills gap. And this is also one of the challenges analysed in a panel in which Izabel Alfany, Managing Director of EIT Health Spain, participated.  

 “We know that 75% of companies have difficulty finding talent, and in the health sector this percentage increases considerably because many professionals with a technological profile are unaware of the job opportunities that our sector can offer,” explains Alfany.  

The Managing Director of EIT Health Spain highlighted some of the challenges faced by companies in the healthcare sector in attracting and retaining talent, such as the incorporation of talent for a reindustrialisation based on healthcare technologies, the development of skills for the implementation of the European Health Data Space and the training of innovators in digital skills.   

Alfany also reviewed some of the initiatives that EIT Health has launched at European and national level to address the talent shortage, such as Healthcare Transformation Academy, Think & Act For Value, Landscape of Biomanufacturing and WorkinHealth Foundation. “All these initiatives work to identify the training needs of our sector and connect academia, startups and practitioners to ensure that talent goes where it is needed,” she concluded. 

The event ended with a speech by Teresa Riesgo, Secretary-General of Innovation at the Ministry of Science and Innovation, who highlighted the EIT’s long history of supporting innovation in Europe and stressed the importance of cross-cutting meetings such as this one. 

Finally, Riesgo urged the need to develop policies that do not contribute to inequality in access to innovation between the different regions of Europe. 

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