EIT | HEI initiative: Innovation capacity Building for Higher Education | EUAcceL: Accelerating Innovation in Europe Through Startup Development and Co-creation

EIT | HEI initiative: Innovation capacity Building for Higher Education | EUAcceL: Accelerating Innovation in Europe Through Startup Development and Co-creation

EUAcceL is an initiative of several higher education institutions (HEIs), their incubators, a research and development centre, start-ups, and established industry partners. It aims to accelerate innovation in Europe through open innovation, co-creation, and start-up development. EUAcceL’s vision is to create an international innovation ecosystem in Europe with all knowledge triangle actors involved. The goal is to foster innovation and start-up development with speed and quality, implement synergies with other innovation network initiatives, and create a leading European programme for entrepreneurship and innovation.

EUAcceL has three core pillars: an open entrepreneurship and co-creation framework, a scalability and sustainability plan, and an impact assessment framework.

EUAcceL sets a new paradigm that leverages entrepreneurial talents and start-ups, existing formats, and an infrastructure of a growing number of entrepreneurial HEIs and EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). EUAcceL’s objectives are as follows:

  • integrate and assess impact in entrepreneurship education, start-up development, and co-creation;
  • internationalise and collaborate within entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial structures, including regional innovation ecosystems, to scout talents, start-up teams, and start-up ideas;
  • implement an open entrepreneurship and co-creation framework to help HEIs and ecosystem actors to iterate innovation activities, and foster innovation and start-up development with speed and quality;
  • digitalise the open entrepreneurship and co-creation framework through virtual formats of entrepreneurship education and digital platforms for matching and co-creation;
  • develop new business models to ensure funding opportunities for international start-ups, and continuation and growth of the initiative;
  • scale the EUAcceL initiative with new HEIs, innovation ecosystem actors, and content to address additional EIT KICs;
  • implement the scalability and sustainability plan of EUAcceL, and transform to a new Open Entrepreneurship Alliance entity.

Implementing EUAcceL’s core initiative pillars and objectives will support entrepreneurial HEIs in internationalising and strengthening their entrepreneurship education and start-up development formats. Furthermore, EUAcceL will co-create a digital ecosystem to bring continuous innovation opportunities to key targets and ecosystem stakeholders.

By 2023, EUAcceL will reach 15 universities in Europe, educate 900 students, support and train 120 professors and incubator consultants, develop 60 new start-ups, onboard 20 companies, and bring over 2,500 innovation ecosystem actors to the initiative.

By 2030, EUAcceL will become the leading holistic programme that unites entrepreneurial universities, research and development centres, industry partners, and a new generation of start-ups, and will change the innovation landscape in Europe and beyond.

 Duration: 2021 – 2023

 Budget: €400,000 in phase one |  €800,000 in phase two

8  partners

  • Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences – project lead
  • FH Campus Wien
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • GründES! Esslingen University
  • The Edge
  • Ghent University
  • Research Centre of Athens University of Economics and Business
  • University of Pisa

Partnership: Athens University of Economics and Business – Research Center, AUEB-RC – GREECE

Team: Prof. Katerina Pramatari, Prof. Phoebe Koundouri, Prof. Chrysi Laspidou.

Further information can be found here


The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial talent to create sustainable growth and skilled jobs in Europe. The EIT is an EU body and an integral part of Horizon Europe, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The Institute supports dynamic pan-European partnerships, EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities, among leading companies, research labs and universities.


The EIT’s HEI Initiative is a key objective for the EIT as part of its new strategy, the EIT Strategic Innovation Agenda 2021 – 2027. The initiative aims to support higher education institutions with expertise and coaching, access to the EIT innovation ecosystem, and funding, enabling them to develop innovation action plans complementing the needs of individual higher education institutions. As part of its Pilot Phase, the initiative has provided funding to 23 projects, with the next call for proposals expected towards the end of 2021.

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EIT UrbanMobility

Coordinated By

EIT RawMaterials

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