The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will be able to start operating this summer, after the Council's common position on its establishment was officially approved by the European Parliament.
The EIT will have a two-tier structure, in which a Governing Board selects higher education institutions, research organisations, companies and other stakeholders to form autonomous partnerships called "Knowledge and Innovation Communities" (KICs). Every KIC should consist of at least three partner organisations, situated in at least two different Member States and including at least one higher education institution and one private company. Universities which take part in a KIC are encouraged to add an EIT label to the degrees and diplomas they awarded.
Within eighteen months after the EIT is established, a first set of two or three KICs will be selected "in areas that help the European Union to face current and future challenges", such as climate change, renewable energy and the next generation of information and communication technologies.
Further KICs will then be selected after the adoption of the first "Strategic Innovation Agenda" (SIA), which is the "policy document outlining the priority fields of the EIT for future initiatives". The EIT must draw up an SIA by mid-2011 at the latest and every seven years thereafter. Parliament and the Council shall then adopt this agenda, acting on a proposal from the Commission.
The Commission estimates that the institute will need an overall budget of €2.4 billion for the first six years, to be funded from a combination of private and public sources.
The Commission set up an identification committee early in February which is to nominate the 18 experts for the EIT's first Governing Board within about four months.
The European Council will then take a decision on where the EIT's governing body will be located. During the debate in Parliament some MEPs proposed Strasbourg, the Polish city of Wroclaw, the Hungarian capital Budapest or the Austrian capital Vienna as possible seats for the EIT's governing board.