A strong EIT Community in Austria and Slovakia

A strong EIT Community in Austria and Slovakia

On Friday, 23 September 2022, EIT Manufacturing invited four other Knowledge and Innovation Communities of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), that are strongly represented in Austria and Slovakia, to the EIT Open Day AT & SK. More than 150 interested participants from the respective ecosystems joined the event in Vienna.

Under the theme “Making Innovation Happen”, EIT Manufacturing, EIT Health, EIT RawMaterials, EIT Urban Mobility and EIT Culture and Creativity showcased their current activities and successful projects at the EIT Open Day Austria and Slovakia. High-level representatives of the five EIT communities introduced their pan-European organisations and brought successful project leaders and testimonials on stage. EIT Manufacturing East Managing Director Johannes Hunschofsky led the audience through the programme and took them on a journey through the different EIT communities and projects.

Sebastian Schlund from the Technical University of Vienna introduced a successful EIT Manufacturing project to democratise Cobot Technology, especially in RIS countries. For EIT Health, Peter Bencsik, Innovation Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim, demonstrated the role of comprehensive education programmes from AI to cybersecurity in healthcare. Benjamin Bütter of the Technical University of Munich introduced “Human-centred planning” of EIT Urban Mobility and the concept of the “15-Minute-City”, and Elias Pajares presented his start-up Plan4Better, a spin-off of the EIT Urban Mobility Doctoral Training Network. For EIT RawMaterials, Hanno Bertignoll of Montanuniversiät Leoben showcased MINETALC – a project for Backfill Mining Optimisation for Low- and Medium-Strength Deposits in Slovakia.

As special guests, Luca Zeitler and Paul Trieb, founders of the Junior Achievement (JA) Company Drinkhalm, pitched their business idea on stage. Drinkhalm was awarded 2nd place at the JA Europe Finals 2022 in Tallinn, Estonia. The audience could also enjoy free samples of the seven flavors Drinkhalm offers.

Photo Credit: Matthias Heschl

The EIT and its communities work on regional and local level to ensure close proximity with their networks. In this close cooperation between industry, academia and research, national research and innovation programmes build the framework for innovation to happen. Barbara Weitgruber, Director General for Scientific Research and International Relations from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) therefore highlighted the role and importance of EIT and its different innovation communities for the national innovation agenda in Austria.

In the following panel discussion, representatives of the five participating EIT communities got the chance to present their European activities and programmes, as well as discussing topics of interest with the engaged audience. Klaus Beetz from EIT Manufacturing, Gerda Achzet from EIT Health, Hanno Bertignoll from EIT RawMaterials, Judith O’Meara from EIT Urban Mobility and Christina Koch from EIT Culture & Creativity – the youngest EIT innovation community – showcased the capabilities of Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem and informed interested attendees about possibilities for collaboration.

Photo Credit: Matthias Heschl

EIT has a strong presence in Slovakia with the country being the home base for numerous hubs of the EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS), which aims at boosting the innovation capabilities of the RIS eligible countries by strengthening linkages among key innovation actors. Michal Laco from Civitta – an organisation representing as many as three EIT communities – and Adriana Kolesarova from the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, a hub for EIT Food, demonstrated the impact of EIT on the Slovakian industries and ecosystems.

The hosts of the EIT Open Day AT & SK had to honour to welcome Dr. Nenad Popovic, Minister for Innovation and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, among their guests. The minister emphasized the importance of EIT for Serbia – an associated country to Horizon Europe – and the country’s plans to establish an EIT Community Hub in Serbia in 2023.

Photo Credit: Matthias Heschl

The event was closed with a panel discussion. Franz Eder from voestalpine High Performance Metals, Peter Bencsik from Boehringer Ingelheim, Markus Häupl from abaut and Sayalee Pendhakar from the City of Munich shared their experiences with the different EIT innovation communities and discussed challenges and benefits this collaboration brought for their companies and organisations.

Thank you to all speakers and participants for joining us on this great occasion, for the inspiring discussions and the new insights provided. Let’s continue our multidisciplinary dialogue and exchange across Europe.

Event Photo Gallery

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