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Cannes 2021 – Marché du Film

Industry Report: European Policy

The role of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology under the spotlight at Cannes

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CANNES 2021: The Cannes NEXT panel, moderated by Sten-Kristian Saluveer, delved into the new opportunities for innovation offered by the EIT

The role of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology under the spotlight at Cannes

One of this year’s Cannes NEXT panels, entitled “Exploring Europe’s Next Creative Financing Booster”, was an occasion to present the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s (EIT’s) upcoming call for proposals for its newest Knowledge and Innovation Community – EIT Culture and Creativity.

The EIT is set to play a crucial role in the recovery of the European economy, as well as the green and digital transition. It will avail itself of a planned budget of nearly €3 billion under the seven-year funding plan known as Horizon Europe. The talk, moderated by Sten-Kristian Saluveer, was held on the Marché du Film’s Main Stage Lerins on 12 July.

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After Saluveer’s introduction, the floor was given to Creative Europe’s Lucía Recalde Langarica (who attended remotely), who said that the EIT’s new initiative will represent a “new funding opportunity” and a “community of highly talented people from different backgrounds, including industry professionals, creatives and academics”. It will also be an occasion to break down barriers to innovation between countries, and across sectors and industries, to have a meaningful social, cultural and economic impact, and to promote financial sustainability.

Later, EIT director Martin Kern explained how the EIT’s innovation model is based on partnerships between business, education and research. In particular, the Knowledge and Innovation Community will “reduce fragmentation and catalyse regional development, […] power new ventures, technologies and digitalisation”, and “train the next generation of innovators in the cultural and creative sectors and industries [CCSI]”. Next, he showed the initiative’s roadmap for the period 2021-2022, with the call set to be launched on 26 October and closed on 24 March 2022, and the start-up grant agreement ready to kick off in September 2022.

ImagiLabs CEO and co-founder Dora Palfi touched upon her studies and her career as an entrepreneur, and talked about the activities of her company, an educational startup building the world’s only mobile-first community for teenage girls interested in tech. She also spoke about the impressive support she received from national and EU bodies, and she stated that she represented a clear example of an entrepreneur who could benefit from the EIT’s new initiative.

The floor was then given to EIT Digital’s chairman of the supervisory board, Linnar Viik, who explained, “From a strategic perspective, the EIT is working towards creating a new Knowledge and Innovation Community hinging on the creative and cultural industries. […] It’s a long-term project or, better, a programme,” so it consists of “long-term money and partnerships bringing the innovation arena into this particular field”, he said. Secondly, it is “a multinational effort”, as “not only one country gets all the benefits” and at least three partners from different EU states are required to participate.

Towards the end of the panel, Kern highlighted the necessity for applicants to have a strategy in mind with “the ambition and the potential” to make a real difference in Europe, be in line with the EIT’s mission and seek long-term transformation. He also mentioned the possibility of bringing together other applicants through matchmaking and announced that more detailed information would be published in due course. Watch this space.

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