“Real action, not just words” needed from European Institute of Innovation and Technology, say EU auditors

Real action, and not just words, will be needed if the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is to achieve its objective of bringing together the worlds of education, science and business, according to the European Court of Auditors.

logoIn a recent report, the auditors warned that the EIT is impeded in its effectiveness by a complex operational framework and management problems. The EIT welcomed the report as evidence that it was achieving its goals. Today, however, Alex Brenninkmeijer, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report, told the European Parliament that the EIT “still has a mountain to climb”.

Speaking to the Committee on Budgetary Control, he went on to say, “The EIT is under-staffed and has been poorly managed. Its funding is based on a poorly defined concept; its claims to have a leverage effect are undemonstrated and implausible. Few of the business and research partnerships (KICs) which it has established are likely to reach financial sustainability. Against that background, we will need more than just welcome words for our report to convince us that the EIT has the potential to become the ground-breaking innovative institute it was originally conceived to be”.

“I find it very positive that Commissioner Navracsics has established a panel of experts to advise him on reforms to the EIT and its future prospects, building also on our findings” added Mr Brenninkmeijer.

The EIT, based in Budapest, Hungary, was set up in 2008. It has a budget of €2.7 billion for the 2008-2020 period. However, businesses have complained that the partnerships it established were driven too much by the needs of universities rather than the marketplace. Projects were frequently abandoned or did not lead to tangible results, according to the auditors’ report.