European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs)

European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) are key initiatives proposed under the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative that was launched in 2010. One of the three main aims of the Innovation Union plan was to revolutionise the way the public and private sectors work together, and the Commission hoped to achieve this by building partnerships across the whole R&I chain between European institutions, national and regional authorities, and business. The Commission called these partnerships, European Innovation Partnerships, and their aim was to: (i) step up research and development efforts; (ii) coordinate investments in demonstrations and pilots; (iii) anticipate and fast-track any necessary regulation and standards; and (iv) mobilise ‘demand’, in particular through better coordinated publicprocurement, to ensure that any breakthroughs are quickly brought to market. Rather than taking the above steps independently, as is currently the case, the aim of the EIPs was to design and implement them in parallel to cut lead times.


EIPs are challenge-driven, focusing on societal benefits and a rapid modernisation of theassociated sectors and markets. They were developed with the aim of streamlining, simplifying and better coordinating existing instruments and initiatives and complementing them with new actions where necessary within a single coherent policy framework. EIPs have been launched only in areas, and consist only of activities, in which government intervention is clearly justified and where combining EU, national and regional efforts in R&Iand demand-side measures can achieve the target more quickly and efficiently.

To date the following EIPs have been set up:

  • Active and Healthy Ageing
  • Agricultural Sustainability and Productivity
  • Smart Cities and Communities
  • Water
  • Raw Materials


The EIP on Active and Healthy Ageing was the first pilot EIP to be launched in 2011, with four more EIPs being set up over the next two years. Each EIP is led by a Steering Group whose main function, particularly at the start, is to develop a Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP). This is complemented by the launch of an ‘Invitation for commitments’ targeted at various stakeholders, at national, EU and regional level to participate in the EIP by joining so-called ‘Action Groups’. These Action Groups are dedicated to developing and implementing action plans that can:

- map the commitments received from various stakeholders,

- define future activities, the roles of partners, and the activities where each partner is involved,

- identify areas where partners can co-develop, co-design or co-operate on activities,

- agree on the level of data sharing,

- provide a delivery plan with milestones and targets, indicating how the various activities are combined to reach the deliverable target of the specific Action.

- provide a delivery plan with milestones and targets, indicating how the various activities are combined to reach the deliverable target of the specific Action.

Apart from the setting up of Action Groups, the EIP AHA and EIP Water have also set up a ‘market place’ that enables stakeholders from a variety of settings to share information about projects and programmes they are undertaking in a number of areas.


The following diagram illustrates the current state of play of the 5 EIPs already established:

While some of the EIPs are still in the early stages of setting up and implementing activities, the EIP AHA, the longest-standing initiative, is now moving towards the scaling up of best practices that are emerging through its Action Groups. It is also expected that the activities and goals of other EIPs will become more visible in the coming years.