In the framework of the current work of the European Parliament on the recast legislation of the EIT, YERUN has been asked to propose amendments on the proposals for a Regulation and for a Decision on the Strategic Innovation Agenda (SIA). Overall, YERUN appreciates the many references to the openness of the KICs and the EIT in general, the need for further transparency, close monitoring, and evaluation. We equally welcome the emphasis on the need to include new partners in the membership but also within the different activities that the KICs shall organise. However, some points deserve attention and caution:
New partners and need for including new regions: there is an excessive emphasis on the regions belonging to the RIS scheme and low performing regions belonging to countries that are not part to the RIS scheme should be also taken into account.
Focus on research: the new reference to the role of the EIT in “promoting research” might deviate from and water down the overall objective of the EIT and might therefore contribute to its failure. Promoting research should not be the focus of the EIT or its KICs and is not in line with its unique character of EIT as an institute of innovation supporting the triangle between available research in the partner organisations, innovation activities and education activities.
Fast-track access: partner organizations of KICs including their start-ups have already a competitive advantage in terms of partnerships, information, and awareness of priorities. They should not concentrate on other actions of EU funding, in this case EIC, that should be available to any other entity in fields not covered by the EIT or from countries/regions not covered by the EIT.
Physical co-location: Given the current situation imposed by the pandemic on COVID-19, it would be wise for the EP to take into account other possibilities given by virtual or online connections that might be worth exploring for the co-location centres of the KICs.
Empowering the KICs to influence the work programmes of HEU: KICs are networks of partner organisations that are beneficiaries of the specific programmes of Horizon Europe. Partner organisations of KICs will be enabled to influence the topics that they subsequently will be applying for with project proposals. This distorts fair competition for EU funding, and constitutes a clear conflict of interest. Equal scepticism concerns the possibility to fund through other HEU funding mechanisms, proposals for KICs that are not successful.
YERUN appreciates the European Parliament taking into account these concerns and states once more its full support to the work the European Parliament is doing to improve the EIT legislation to make it a strong instrument for the years 2021-2027.