Co-creating cross-border innovation ecosystems: Lessons from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology

José Manuel Leceta
Friday, 19 December 2014 - 12:00

Europe has a number of world-class Universities, inventive research centers, large companies and a vibrant SME fabric. However, notwithstanding long standing support to collaborative R&D by European Union institutions and Member States, evidence shows that few young leading innovators created in the last 25 years of the 20th century have European roots, a tenth of those originated in the US. Also, taking aside defense, European citizens already invest publicly per capita more than their US citizens. Consequently, not only the level of support but also established paradigm and design of top down innovation policy support mechanisms need new consideration.The ‘European Institute of Innovation and Technology’ (EIT) is a relatively new policy experiment to get the EU back on track for entrepreneurial innovation. Created in 2008, the EIT crystalizes Europe’s political will to approach innovation radically different with an increased focus on people. The EIT operates through so-called ‘Knowledge and Innovation Communities’ (KICs) which integrate excellent partners from the knowledge triangle of higher education, research and business, encompassing bottom-up ‘co-creation’ of novel innovation models and cross-border ecosystems.The workshop will discuss three unique features of the EIT, namely, 1. KICs's role as forerunners of communities-driven innovation schemes for grand challenges, 2. Steering and management approach to EIT-KIC partnerships and 3. KIC’s co-location centers as melting pots of knowledge, skills and entrepreneurial attitudes. The dissertation shows why and how EIT-KIC ‘living partnerships’ represent a novel innovation approach concluding with some implications for European innovation governance.


Innovation policy learning, knowledge triangle integration, enterpreneurial innovation, grand challenges, multi-level innovation governance, tacit knowledge, higher education third mission.


Ciudad Politécnica de la Innovación
Edificio 8E, Acceso J, Planta 3ª (Salón de Actos. Cubo Rojo)
Universidad Politécnica de Valencia | Camino de Vera s/n

Short CV: 

José Manuel is Telecommunications Engineer and has diplomas in Strategic Management, Network Economics, International Studies, Economics and Innovation Management. A respected innovation policy fellow in Europe, he was also an alumnus of the International Space University (ISU’ 91 and ‘92) he personally convinced about the power of education and experimentation to transform societies.He began his career in industry in 1987 in Spain, Finland, France and Japan, joining the Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) in 1992 as an active member of the Spanish Delegation to the European Space Agency (ESA). In 1996 he was appointed Department Head for Space Technologies and Applications at CDTI and from 2000 to 2002 he was Chairman of Ariane Launchers Progamme Board and Vice Chairman of the Telecommunications Program Board of ESA.From 2004 to 2010 he was International Director at CDTI and an active member of CREST-ERAC, Eureka and TAFTIE (the European Network of Innovation Agencies that Jose Manuel supported as Executive Secretary in 2010). During his term the Spanish participation in European programs increased by 50% and he also expanded collaboration with the U.S., China, India, Korea, Japan, Canada, South Africa etc.As Director of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) since 1 July 2011, Jose Manuel Leceta has played a leading role in the consolidation of its first ‘Knowledge and Innovation Communities' (KICs), thereby fostering the recognition of the Institute’s role as a dynamic player in the future European innovation landscape. Since 1 August 2014 he is also Visiting Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute (EUI).