Strengthening Innovation pipelines for impactful Universities


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About the project

Universities have the potential to widely impact society and the economy through the education of future entrepreneurs and the translation of academic research findings into innovative and, eventually, successful companies. However, this success is often limited by the scarcity of dedicated resources and a lack of proficient innovation and entrepreneurship support activities within universities. As a result, investments into one of the four phases of the innovation pipeline (idea, invention, incubation, and internationalisation) are often made at the expense of the others, even if these would be equally necessary for the effective and smooth transition of ideas into viable businesses. For universities to reach their full impact, an adequate support system all the way from ideation to start-up establishment and acceleration is required.

4InnoPipe takes on this challenge and aims at empowering universities at each stage of their innovation pipelines. This pilot project aims to foster academic innovation pipelines from start to finish, with a focus on technologies that promote healthy people and a healthy environment: foodtech, eco-innovation, and sustainable pharmaceutical.

The work plan covers the key elements of the innovation support system:

  • enhancing organisational structures and digital infrastructure;
  • strengthening collaborations and networks;
  • ensuring collaboration with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and its Knowledgeand Innovation Communities;
  • developing education and the necessary conditions to turn ideas into start-ups.

4InnoPipe’s collaborative model builds on the strong complementarity of the partners, to maximise the impact that universities can have in their regional ecosystems. Within the consortium, the University of Helsinki, Reutlingen University, Kyiv Academic University, and Zagreb School of Economics and Management will remodel their academic innovation pipelines from ideation to internationalisation, via joining forces, sharing expertise, and pooling resources to boost health and sustainability-based innovations and start-ups from universities.

With the support of associate partners, 4InnoPipe will define the value that higher education institutions (HEI) represent within their regional innovation ecosystems and establish effective mechanisms to connect into local ecosystems. The project will serve as a pilot for joint activities, which will expand by 2030, using the established innovation support platform to scale up 4InnoPipe from faculties to universities.


The 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.

EIT and EIT KICs have established the HEI Initiative: Innovation Capacity Building for Higher Education.

The EIT's HEI Initiative helps higher education institutions build the capacity to teach innovation and entrepreneurship. This new initiative will help them boost their entrepreneurial capabilities at all levels and unlock their innovation potential.