HEI – Idea to Impact – i2i (HEI – i2i)

The EIT’s HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education was launched by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and is led by EIT RawMaterials − one of the EIT’s Knowledge and Innovation Communities.

The i2i project aims to develop entrepreneurship capital and aptitude for driving innovation, building on the strengths and weaknesses of each partner identified through the HEInnovate self-assessment.

i2i connects five higher education institutions (HEIs), three intermediary organisations, and eight associated partners in five entrepreneurial ecosystems. The overall vision and ambition of the i2i consortium is to address its capacity and capability to foster entrepreneurial thinking, actions and institutions. The project also aims to develop entrepreneurship capital and aptitude for driving innovation, building on the strengths and weaknesses of each partner identified through the HEInnovate self-assessment.


• building the capacity of HEI staff to deliver entrepreneurial education and learning through upskilling and training, while supporting the development of effective governance to promote the uptake of best entrepreneurial knowledge and practices;

• enhancing the HEI start-up ecosystem; encouraging entrepreneurship among students; leveraging and integrating existing support and frameworks, including HEInnovate, Entrecomp and those created in i2i; providing methods and programmes for citizen development based on digital transformation; and starting in and starting out co-curricular stimulating spin-offs;

• increasing HEI innovation capacity through stronger integration of the knowledge triangle, and engaging with regional and international innovation ecosystems via a model of co-creation, knowledge exchange, active participation and challenging mindsets, resulting in stronger fusion between educators, researchers and entrepreneurs;

• establishing the infrastructure, processes and systems needed to scale, transfer, evaluate and measure impact in order to include a platform that captures centrally the previously fragmented actions and outcomes; developing transfer roadmaps and mentorship structures, and engaging alumni;

• conceptualising and disseminating clear innovation pathways and links to the wider innovation ecosystem; creating transferable and scalable models for dissemination;

• implementing an effective project management structure to deliver actions from the Innovation Vision Action Plan, key performance indicators (KPIs) and deliverables;

• supporting at task level the goals of EIT Health, EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Digital, and the upcoming EIT Culture & Creativity;

• promoting at task level inclusivity, equality, accessibility and diversity across all aspects of i2i in line with the Gender Action Plan and HEI policy.


i2i will train and mentor almost 800 students and over 300 staff. It will empower 100 educators to scale up through ‘train the trainer’ models of engagement, implement over 20 regional and transnational training/mentoring initiatives, attract over 3,000 stakeholders through 30+ events, engage over 30 financiers and 50 alumni, and support 25 start-ups/scale-ups. These KPIs will be underpinned by the development of a new entrepreneurial support platform and infrastructure.

By doing this, i2i will deliver transformative change that will embed processes, structures and systems focused on future-proofing and institutionalising entrepreneurship across our ecosystems, with universities acting as engines of innovation.


National University of Ireland Galway (Lead partner)

Medical University of Plovdiv

Galway City Innovation District

University of Thessaly


Comenius University in Bratislava

University of the Basque Country

GIS – Transfer Center Foundation