EIT Digital, Europe's most influential development and innovation cluster in the digital field, opened a representative office in Tallinn yesterday in cooperation with Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) and the Estonian Research Council (ETAG). The representative office or satellite located in TalTech Mektory Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center helps to integrate regional digital innovation and entrepreneurial communities and increase investments in research and development activities.
The goal of EIT Digital is to develop research and innovation-intensive technologies, services and support growth companies in areas important for Europe. The organization's network includes more than 300 partners from European universities, research institutions and companies in the digital field, and together they invest around 100 million euros in digital innovation annually. It is significant here that 20 percent of the funding is directed to educational programs.
The cluster's portfolio includes more than 200 European start-ups, which are offered access to markets, capital and technology.
Linnar Viik, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of EIT Digital and a visionary of the Estonian digital field, recognized that the story of EIT Digital is also the story of innovation in Estonian research and development. "Fifteen years ago, researchers relied heavily on grants, the output of which is mainly research publications. We are not dealing with handing out grants, but rather creating a wider impact," explained Viik. "The impact of EIT Digital is expressed in new products, services and jobs and markets that are created thanks to the investments."
According to Linnar Viik, nearly ten years ago, when EIT Digital was created, their model was not yet suitable for Estonian researchers, and the Estonian startup landscape had not yet developed. "Now we see that Estonian companies, research and development centers and universities are looking for a wider impact and output in society in addition to published research articles or the successful use of grants," added Viik.
The opening of EIT Digital's Estonian representative office was also supported by TalTech and the Estonian Research Council. Dean of the TalTech’s School of IT Gert Jervan sees opportunities in EIT Digital for both universities and companies. "For several years now, we have introduced the Estonian digital ecosystem to the international students of the EIT Digital Master's School with the help of the summer schools held here. But in the future, we also want to emphasize the opposite movement: more Estonian students could participate in the EIT Digital master's school," Jervan found. He noted that cluster support is also important in growing the innovation ecosystem in order to strengthen ties with various European parties and offer new opportunities to our start-ups.
You can learn more about EIT Digital's activities here.