The European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT) decided at the end of 2014 to found a new knowledge and innovation community, where scientists and companies will study the theme of raw materials. Six regional knowledge centres will be built, one of which will be coordinated from Leuven. Along with Umicore, KULeuven and UGent, VITO is driving the project in Flanders.
The EIT encourages research, innovation, technology and entrepreneurship across borders. It does so through Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). In 2015, a new KIC on raw materials will be created. Its mission: Turn Europe's dependency on raw materials into a strategic advantage and into real opportunities for European companies. This can be done by supporting and developing innovative concepts, creating start-ups and mentoring young scientists.
Umicore, KULeuven, UGent and VITO will, together with partners in Wallonia (ULiège and CRM), the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom, support one of the six regional expertise centres of the new KIC. It will focus on recycling, urban mining (recovering raw materials in electronics), extracting metals and minerals from industrial residue, designing lightweight and sustainable materials, sea floor mining (collect minerals from the sea floor) and the circular economy.
With many years of experience and expertise in raw materials, recycling and the circular economy, VITO played a key role in drafting the winning proposal and developing the management structure of the new KIC. VITO also provides the COO of the management team that is drawing up the KIC's first business plan: Karl Vrancken.
- 116 partners in 22 European member states
- Annual grant of € 40-60 million
- One headquarters and six regional centres of expertise (co-location centres), of which one is in Leuven
Ambitions by 2018:
- support and develop 40 innovative concepts
- create 16 start-ups
- launch more than 1000 master’s and doctoral studies with an EIT-label
Ambitions by 2022:
- commercialise 70 patents