Proposal to establish the European Institute
of Technology |
CHAPTER 1: Setting the Scene
1. In the competitive global economy of the 21st
century it is widely recognised that the Member States of the
European Union can only maintain the strength of their economies
through commercially successful technological innovation in both
manufacturing and services. The EU has many universities and research
centres of world class, but there is a broad consensus that there
is a relative weakness, compared with global competitors, in the
way in which research results in the EU are converted into successful
2. The proposed European Regulation
to establish the European Institute of Technology (EIT) is designed
to address this weakness. The aim is that the establishment of
the EIT would help to bridge the gap between the university, research
and business communities and, as a result, would improve the EU's
record in technological innovation in business. This, in turn,
would support the EU's aims of promoting growth and employment.
3. The Commission's early thinking about the
EIT envisaged a major new technological institute which would
have formed a focus for research into the application of technology
in Europe, and would have had a campus environment in which students
studied for EIT degrees. Following consultation, however, this
controversial approach was fundamentally changed.
4. It is now envisaged that the EIT will operate
through the activities of a number of Knowledge and Innovation
Communities (KICs). These KICs would consist of partnerships between
the private sector, research organisations and higher education
institutions. The KICs would use state-of-the-art research networking
and computing infrastructures in order to achieve their aims of
integrating activities between participants in their partnerships.
The EIT is envisaged as having a relatively small coordinating
entity at the centre which incorporates an independent Governing
Board with high level representation from academia and industry.
The Board would set the strategic objectives of the EIT and would
define the areas in which KICs would be established.
5. After we had published our Interim Report
in April 2007 about the modified EIT proposal, a number of discussions
were held about the views of Member States in Working Group meetings
convened by the EU Presidency. As a result, further modifications
were introduced to the proposal. We therefore invited Mr Malcolm
Wicks MPMinister of State for Science and Innovation
at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)to give us
evidence about the latest form of the proposal. A transcript of
the evidence that Mr Wicks gave us is printed with this Report,
which also sets out our most recent conclusions and recommendations
relating to the EIT proposal.
6. Also printed with the Report is the written
evidence we received subsequent to the publication of our Interim
Report from: the organisation Universities UK (Appendix 1); the
European Commission (Appendix 2); and the UK Government (Appendix
7. The Members of our Social Policy and Consumer
Affairs Sub-Committee (Sub-Committee G) who conducted the Inquiry,
showing their declared interests, are listed inside the front
cover of the Report.
8. We make this Report for the information
of the House.
1 Council of the European Union: Proposal for a
Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council-Establishing
the European Institute of Technology (EIT), 10413/2/07 Rev
2 Brussels, 22.06.2007 http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/07/st10/st10413-re02.en07.pdf Back
European Union Committee, 13th Report (2006-07): Proposal
to Establish the European Institute of Technology: Interim Report
(HL 69) Back