EIT aims to KIC-start innovation

February 12, 2013

Call for proposals focuses on e-mobility

February 6, 2014

By Jerome Simpson

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Transport is one of four sub-themes addressed by 'KIC InnoEnergy' (KIC stands for 'Knowledge and Innovation Community') within the scope of the Smart and Efficient Buildings and Cities roadmap. Other thematic fields addressed by the company, established in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), include Energy Efficiency Clean Coal Technologies, Energy from Chemical Fuels, Renewable Energies, Smart Electric GridsElectricity Storage, and Sustainable Nuclear and Renewable Energy Convergence. Through KIC InnoEnergy's current call for proposals, launched on February 1, 2015, it aims to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship chiefly within the field of sustainable energy. A brand new video is now available and explains KIC InnoEnergy here.

Previous calls have seen KIC InnoEnergy co-finance up to EUR 5 million over three years for knowledge sharing, marketing and exploitation elements of technology development and demonstration projects, while the remainder of the project budget, typically EUR 15 million, is sourced by between three and seven partners (in research, industry and commercialisation in a minimum of two countries) for technology R&D, patent filing, know-how development, lab tests and staff costs. Crucial to bid success is a realistic business plan for product and service exploitation within five years.

Current examples in the transport domain include "EVCity", which is implemented by the University of Leuven and seeks to develop business and service models supporting the roll-out of electric vehicles in cities (e.g. how to pay for the electricity at public charging stations) while also exploring the concepts of contactless charging and grid-connected vehicles.

Another is "KIC-ASS", which seeks to facilitate a transition towards plug-in hybrid electric vehicles through the concept of Active Sub-Stations (i.e. by extending smart-grid capabilities to exploit diverse energy production sources and manage the demands and services offered by electric transportation), which marks a significant step closer towards fulfilling the European SET (Strategic Energy Technology) plan and Europe's 20-20-20 goals.

KIC InnoEnergy defines innovation projects as the transformation of available knowledge into new marketable products and services related to the field of sustainable energy that have positive economic and social impacts. Its ‘Innovation Project Cycle’ can be seen here. Fundamentally, innovations should: 1) decrease energy costs; 2) increase security vis-à-vis resource holders; 3) increase intrinsic operational safety or reliability; and/or 4) reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Project results should be market-ready within five years of their inception, therefore KIC InnoEnergy's interest is in ‘late development stage’ innovations which are at ‘TRL 4’ and above on the so-called Technology Readiness Level scale, which means proof of concept (including pilot test validation). KIC’s accent is on removing the usual barriers to commercializing innovation by giving access to the right business partners, cutting-edge business development support, financing and intellectual property (IP) protection, as well as finding the first customers and facilitating European energy markets entry.

Technology roadmaps for each of the KIC InnoEnergy thematic fields, according to which proposals are to be submitted, are available here. The deadline for proposal submissions under the first call of 2015 is April 10.

Who Can Apply?

evcity1Proposals may be submitted by four types of KIC InnoEnergy partners: formal, associate, project or new partners. Bids should be led by formal or associate KIC partners, but they may source additional expertise not available within KIC InnoEnergy. Alternatively, new potential KIC InnoEnergy partners and project partners may lead bids as long as they include a letter of intent to become an associate (or formal) partner upon the success of their proposal. Typically, innovation project partners are universities, research organizations and/or small and medium-sized enterprises. To view the current KIC InnoEnergy partners, click here.

To learn more about the current call for innovation proposals, including eligibility criteria, general information on the request for proposals can be downloaded here . Guidelines are listed here. The proposal format is similar to that of the EC's classic Framework Programme. Interested bidders located within the EU's 'new' member states are invited to share their ideas with REC Senior Expert Jerome Simpson (Tel: 00 36 26 504 039) who as KIC InnoEnergy partner for central and eastern Europe coordinates outreach and take-up in the region. Dedicated events to explain the call and facilitate partnerships are also being held throughout Europe during February and March and are detailed here. On February 19, KIC InnoEnergy hosts a first matchmaking event in Krakow, Poland. A final shortlist of proposals will be drawn up during April, with the signature process for project agreements to be completed by June 3-4, 2015.

STOP PRESS: KIC also supports business growth and enterprise start-ups/spin-offs in sustainable energy technology innovations that demonstrate soundness of concept and maturity but may still require certain testing. To get this process underway, complete the application form available here. KIC's Business Creation team will assess within 2-3 weeks and if accepted, financial/creative/know-how support worth Eur 120k over 2 yrs can be made available. KIC seeks a 10-15% share in supported enterprises.  More info here.

KIC InnoEnergy and the rest

KIC InnoEnergy is currently one of the five Knowledge and Innovation Communities, together with 'ICT', 'Climate', ‘Health’ and ‘Raw Materials’ created under the leadership of the European Institute of Technology. EIT plans to expand its portfolio until 2020 with several more KICs foreseen to be launched,  including Food4Future and Added-value manufacturing in 2016; and Urban mobility in 2018 among those expected to follow. Further information is available here.

KIC InnoEnergy is a European company fostering the knowledge triangle of education, research and business. Its strategic objective is to be the leading engine for innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of sustainable energy. Its 27 shareholders are all key players in the energy sector, namely top rank industries, research centres and universities. More than 100 additional partners contribute to its activities. Its dynamic network is open to new entrants that will increase its excellence. For a list of all innovation projects implemented under the auspices of KIC InnoEnergy, please click here.

Click here to learn more about KIC InnoEnergy's offers to potential sustainable energy technology MSc and PhD students.