Innovation Forum

EIT Foundation

The EIT Foundation mission

The Foundation of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was established in 2010 as a philanthropic, not-for-profit organisation under Dutch law.The EIT Foundation is a group of like-minded organisations dedicated to promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe. Our goal is to enlarge the impact of the EIT, inventing the future by bringing together some of Europe's brightest minds at events, in youth talent programmes and similar initiatives.


The EIT Foundation is managed by a Board of talented professionals from a range of different sectors. They all have extensive experience in their field of expertise and share a genuine interest in advancing innovation across Europe.

Board members are appointed for a period of four years. Their mandate can be renewed once. In order to ensure synergies and complementarities between the Foundation and the EIT, the Board counts with two members from the EIT Governing Board. All Board members work on a voluntary basis and do not receive salary or any other form of financial reward for their activities.

A Secretariat assists the Board in carrying out the operational aspects of the Foundation's work.

In addition, a Strategic Committee makes recommendations to Foundation Board regarding the development and implementation of the Work Programme. Besides the Board members themselves, this committee counts with the CEOs of the EIT Foundation companies, the Secretary General, the EIT Director and a representative of the European Commission.

Our work programme

The EIT Foundation Work Programme reflects the Foundation's determination to promote the development of people's innovation and entrepreneurial skills, and to disseminate innovative practices across Europe.

The Work Programme focuses on the following three priorities:

  • Furthering entrepreneurial education and bridging the gap between academia and business. Actions in this area instil a focus on innovation in traditional education as well as professional training.
  • Creating a new generation with an entrepreneurial mindset ready to drive the development of sustainable innovation.
  • Developing an international network of talented professionals engaged in education, research, innovation and business development, by organising events that bring these individuals together.

The actions set forth are implemented in cross-cutting areas of interest to the whole innovation community and are intended to benefit a wide group of players, independently of their sector of activity. They should bring about a positive impact on the European society and its citizens.

The EIT Foundation Work Programme is proposed, managed, financed and implemented directly by the EIT Foundation community. The Foundation follows a cash-in/ cash-out model supporting concrete projects. It does not act as a fundraiser or conceive its operations on financial endowment (capital invested to generate and annual return).

Ongoing actions

The Work Programme of the EIT Foundation is implemented via three Working Groups:

Working Group 1

Internship programme

WG1 organises paid internships for higher education graduates and candidates for post-graduate Masters and PhDs. Internships are offered across the European branches of the EIT Foundation companies and within a wide range of different departments (e.g. R&D;, IT, manufacturing, logistics, customer services, communication, external relations, HR). The programme aims to provide the interns with experience-based knowledge in their field of interest and to develop their innovation and entrepreneurial skills. The long-term objective is to contribute to address Europe's high youth unemployment rates, by facilitating the integration of graduates in the workplace.

The Foundation is now running the second edition of the internship programme.

The leader of Working Group 1 is Agfa Gevaert.


Working Group 2

Innovation and entrepreneurship training programme

WG2 is responsible for the 'Young Leaders Group', an entrepreneurial and leadership training programme gathering around 30 young European academics, entrepreneurs and business representatives. Under the direction of an experienced team from business and academia, the young leaders ponder over a specific innovation challenge facing Europe. Drawing on the diversity in their academic, professional and sectorial backgrounds, they produce a set of recommendations on how this challenge can be overcome, and present these to innovation stakeholders at EU, national and regional level.

The first edition of the 'Young Leaders Group' focused on 'data-driven innovation'. It was launched in November 2012 and culminated when the young leaders presented their main recommendations at the EIT Foundation Innovation Forum in March 2013. You can consult the Young Leaders' recommendations here.

Video on the Young Leaders Programme

The second edition of the 'Young Leaders Group' was launched in March 2014. The topic of this year's edition is 'future learning environments: triggering innovation and growth'. The programme includes a 'kick-off meeting' at Alcatel-Lucent, virtual learning platforms, and an autumn academy' at Imperial College London. The programme culminates with the presentations at the Innovation Forum. For more information about the second edition of the Young Leaders Group click here.

The leader of Working Group 2 is EY (Ernst and Young)


Working Group 3

Innovation Forum

WG3 organises the EIT Foundation Innovation Forum, a high-level event that fosters open discussions and exchange of ideas and good practices among Europe's key innovation players. The long-term objective is to develop a pan-European international network of stakeholders engaged in innovation, research, education and business development.

The first EIT Foundation Innovation Forum took place on March 26th 2013. Under the headline 'data- driven innovation: the new imperative for growth' more than 200 selected participants discussed how to leverage the economic, social and cultural potential of data to kick-start growth and jobs in Europe. You can read more about the forum and see the keynotes and presentations here.

Video on the Innovation Forum

The second Annual Forum is scheduled to take place in January 2015 and will address the potential of future learning environments.


A platform for long-term collaboration

The EIT Foundation alumni network gathers the participants from the 'Young Leaders Group' and the internship programme. The objective of the network is to facilitate long-term collaboration between the alumni, by providing them a platform from which they can continue information exchange, good practices sharing, peer-to-peer advice, and discussion on new business ideas. In addition, the members of the alumni network serve as ambassadors of the EIT Foundation, and contribute with advice and input on the organisation of future programmes.


The EIT Foundation community

The EIT Foundation currently gathers ten companies from different sectors and origine, all leading in their fields.

Should you wish to be part of the EIT Foundation's community, please contact us

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between the EIT Foundation and the EIT?

The EIT and the EIT Foundation are two separate entities with different legal nature. The EIT is an EU body accountable to the European Parliament and the European Council. The EIT Foundation is a not-for- profit independent organisation formally established as a charity under Dutch law.

The EIT and the EIT Foundation have been designed to complement each other. Whilst the EIT is designed to convert knowledge into business in order to achieve a direct economic impact, the EIT Foundation has a social remit and a philanthropic responsibility towards society.

The EIT Foundation aims to enhance the EIT’s social outreach and addresses challenges related to innovation, education and entrepreneurship in areas beyond the KICs' excellence focus.

Through its Work Programme, the EIT Foundation supports the EIT’s mission concerning, particularly, the progress of talent, the development of people’s innovation and entrepreneurship skills, and the dissemination of good practices across Europe.

All actions contained in the Work Programme are situated in cross-cutting areas beyond the specific societal challenges addressed by the EIT and its KICs. The EIT Foundation actions benefit a wide group of actors independently of their fields of specialisation.

2. Why should my organisation support and participate in the EIT Foundation?

The EIT Foundation aims at generating social impact through Corporate Social Responsibility. Being part of the EIT Foundation provides a concrete opportunity to better position your organisation in its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, by visibly contributing to overcoming European innovation challenges.

As a member of the EIT Foundation you will actively participate in the definition and implementation of the Work Programme. You will gain privileged access to the outcome of the Foundations activities as well as networking opportunities with key business players and decision-makers from all around Europe.

Being registered as a charity organisation in the Netherlands, the EIT Foundation also offers attractive financial advantages and a flexible working environment.

Your involvement in and contribution to the EIT Foundation Work Programme is adaptable to your organisation's capacities, meaning you can join the EIT Foundation community at any time without constraints.

If you are interested in joining the EIT Foundation or have any questions regarding membership, please do not hesitate to contact us.

3. Why is the EIT Foundation raising money?

Whilst the EIT benefits from financial contribution from the EU, the EIT Foundation is not financially supported by the EU or by national budgets. The EIT Foundation relies on contributions from the Foundation companies, including this company to implement its activities.

The companies can contribute to the EIT Foundation both financially and in-kind, through their expertise, knowledge and experience. They may also support the EIT Foundation mission by making staff available or by providing logistics assistance (e.g. meeting facilities) for the setting up of Working Groups and the development of activities.

4. Is the EIT Foundation only open to private organisations ?

For the time being, the EIT Foundation is exclusively composed of private organisations. It is, however, open to any stakeholder sharing the mission and objectives of the EIT Foundation.

For further details on how to become involved in the EIT Foundation's community, please contact us.


EIT Foundation
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50, Room H-7-25,
3062 PA Rotterdam
The Netherlands

Tel: + 32 2 264 21 99
E-mail: [email protected]
BTW number: NL-822990970B01