EIT Climate-KIC today announced a restructure that will see the organisation reshape its ways of working to deliver on its “Transformation, in Time” strategy for tackling climate change and its implications through systems innovation.

The new organisational structure is designed to meet the increasing demand, across Europe, for EIT Climate-KIC’s role as an orchestrator of ‘systems transformation as a service’. This is an innovation model and method to catalyse fast decarbonisation across the economy; to drive climate adaptation and resilience through circular economy approaches in cities, countries and regions; and, in the case of industries, to generate new markets, business models and value chains coherent with a 1.5 degree world.

“Our long-planned restructuring could not come at a more relevant time, when COVID-19 has shown the need for agile organisations who can help deliver on Europe’s Green Deal ambitions,” said Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of EIT Climate-KIC. “Governments, cities, regions and companies are looking for transformative ways to become zero carbon, as they emerge from the crisis. EIT Climate-KIC will now be ready to support them by orchestrating solutions to these massive challenges.”

Despite the timing, the restructure is not a response to the impacts of COVID-19, but rather a planned step in a strategic development process that began in 2017. This process started with the formulation of a theory of change model that reflected the growing urgency and complexity of the climate change challenge. Based on this model, the organisation then published its “Transformation, in Time” strategy in 2018, with a clear mission to help create a prosperous, inclusive, climate-resilient society founded on a circular, zero-carbon economy.

“Through the restructuring, the organisation is building on its most important assets: its people and its community of over 400 partners,” said Anders Wijkman, Chair of the EIT Climate-KIC Association Governing Board. “EIT Climate-KIC orchestrates, catalyses and supports innovation for climate action, and it is our partner universities, businesses, cities and NGOs who are giving us an unrivalled breadth of knowledge, expertise and relationships to make that innovation happen.”

Part of the strategic restructure will enable the organisation and its innovation community to broaden its revenue sources as it opens up beyond the funding cycle of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) grant, on which EIT Climate-KIC was founded in 2010. The EIT grant was set up to help develop a mission-oriented business model and multi-faceted value proposition based on knowledge triangle integration—for funders, delivery partners, and challenge owners of Europe’s biggest decarbonisation challenges. From the outset, the expectation was that funding would peak between 2018-2020 and tail off through the end of the mandate period in 2024. The restructuring is designed to ready the organisation for this new phase in its life cycle, and to ensure that it is optimally structured and staffed for the purpose of delivering on its mission to deliver innovation that will help societies move towards a 1.5 degree world, financed by multiple sources of funding and revenue.

At the heart of the organisation’s strategic approach is the Deep Demonstration initiative, through which it offers ‘systems transformation as a service’ to some of Europe’s most ambitious ‘challenge owners’—including city mayors, government ministries, industry and community leaders and CEOs of major companies. These large-scale projects use systems innovation to demonstrate that fast and large-scale transition is possible in specific places and sectors. Deep Demonstrations provide a framework for delivering on a European Green deal, putting climate innovation at the heart of economic development to deliver inclusive and sustainable prosperity, social cohesion, and futureproof skills, capabilities and jobs. EIT Climate-KIC’s education and entrepreneurship initiatives are a key element of this cohesive strategy.

EIT Climate-KIC is already working with 40 challenge owners in cities, regions, countries and industries across Europe, including many in the EIT’s Regional Innovation Scheme, where additional innovation support is critical to the achievement of Europe’s decarbonisation commitment. EIT Climate-KIC will continue to be an active participant in the co-design and co-funding of new projects, and will build on the broader opportunities this restructure creates for the whole EIT community.

The implementation period of the restructure is expected to last until the end of 2020.

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