Embargo: 00:01 Tuesday 17 April 2007

Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659


The House of Lords European Union Committee have today spelled out their concerns about the EU's plans for a European Institute of Technology (EIT).

The European Commission have identified a relative weakness compared with its global competitors in the EU's capacity to convert research results into commercial opportunities. They propose to set up the EIT in order to address this problem, and hence to improve Europe's capacity for technological innovation.

Their proposal envisages that the EIT should comprise a network of six Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC), which would be established by 2013. These would consist of partnerships, designed to promote innovation and knowledge transfer between the private sector, research organisations and higher education institutions. The KICs would use state of the art research and computing infrastructures to ensure the integration of the participants' activities.

While the Committee agrees that the EIT proposal does address a serious problem, it is concerned about the approach that has been proposed. In particular, it feels that more needs to be done to establish how incentives could be introduced for the business community to become involved in the proposed KICs.

Commenting, Baroness Thomas of Walliswood, Chairman of the Committee, said:

"The Commission has identified a real problem in Europe's inability to take full commercial advantage of its strengths in education and research; and we accept that a European Institute of Technology could make a positive contribution to solving the problem."

"However we are concerned about the way in which the Commission is proposing to set up the EIT. Our view is that the approach they suggest does not provide European businesses with the incentives they will need to become heavily involved, and hence to make the EIT a success."

Notes to Editors

1. The report is published by The Stationery Office, Proposal to establish the European Institute of Technology, House of Lords European Unions Committee - Sub-Committee G (Social Policy and Consumer Affairs), 13th report of 2006/07, HL Paper 69.

2. The full report will be available shortly after publication at:

3. The members of the Committee who conducted the inquiry are:

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood (Chair)

Earl of Dundee

Baroness Gale

Baroness Greengross

Baroness Howarth if Breckland

Baroness Morgan of Huyton

Lord Moser

Baroness Neuberger

Lord Trefgarne

Baroness Uddin

Lord Wade of Chorlton