Climate-KIC Pioneers into Practice At the cutting edge of climate change innovation in Europe

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1 Knowledge & Innovation Community Climate-KIC Climate-KIC Pioneers into Practice At the cutting edge of climate change innovation in Europe Prospectus

2 Climate-KIC is one of three Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) designated by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) as a key driver of European excellence, innovation and growth. Climate-KIC creates a generation of climate change entrepreneurs with the multi-disciplinary skills to develop economically, environmentally and socially sustainable approaches to mitigate global warming and adapt to its effects. The following are some examples of organisations who are Climate-KIC partners: Academic: Imperial College London, ParisTech, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change, Delft/Utrecht/ Wageningen Universities and ETH Zurich; Business and non-academic partners: Bayer, EDF, DSM, GDF Suez, Deltares, Institute for Sustainability, TNO, Schipol Airport; Regions: Central Hungary, Emilia Romagna, Hessen, Lower Silesia, Valencian region and the West Midlands, collectively form the Regional Innovation Implementation Community (RIC). 2

3 Pioneers into Practice Climate-KIC has launched an exciting new knowledge development programme called Pioneers into Practice to promote world-class learning about the dynamics and management of system innovation for the transition to a low carbon economy in Europe. It is part of a package of activities developed by Climate-KIC to stimulate entrepreneurial action of economic and societal value. The programme is committed to producing a new generation of specialists, entrepreneurs and policy-makers with high-level skills for the low carbon transition. They will be able to shape systems and processes that a low carbon economy requires, and in that way shape the new models of economic development. The programme will be delivered across 6 European regions, allowing participants to develop their knowledge and understanding in a diversity of environments. The programme was launched in 2010 with approximately 50 participants and will grow substantially during the following years. What is it? The Pioneers programme is based on the assumption that the challenge of climate change requires a different type of innovation to that of conventional business competition. This arises from the commitment of most governments to urgent and ambitious targets for emission reduction and a transition to a low carbon society. The characteristics of this new type of innovation are that it needs: A significant role for entrepreneurial and public actors in addition to universities and established businesses To combine global significance with local based relevance To blend long-term strategy with near-term implementation To be challenge led not technology driven Innovation in systems of practice and provision not single innovation in products and processes A mixture of social and technological change; socio-technical innovation not just new technologies Transformative not incremental innovation Therefore, the programme aims to create a new generation of low carbon innovators with the capacity to understand and manage this new type of innovation. It seeks to develop a mix of inter-disciplinary knowhow and managerial capability among practitioners in low carbon innovation. This will be done through a learning-by-doing approach which will be accompanied by the development of social science knowledge about innovation. 3

4 What s involved? Each region has developed a network of different types of organisations (knowledge, business, public, societal) around two key themes - low carbon living and low carbon mobility - where the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can make a significant contribution to the achievement of Europe s 2020 targets. These networks will connect people who are actively delivering low carbon projects and provide a cluster of existing knowledge and expertise. Participants will interact with these networks in two specific ways: A Placement programme will allow participants to be placed in a range of these projects. They will enable participants to develop their knowledge and understanding of the day-to-day management of climate change innovation. Projects will cover a range of socio-technical activity related to the themes of low carbon living and low carbon mobility, including energy-efficient buildings, decentralised energy systems, low emissions energy production, integrated water management, electric vehicle demonstrators and intelligent and sustainable mobility systems. Venture Support The process of transition is expected to generate opportunities for business renewal in each region. The best practice ideas developed during the Pioneers programme will be eligible for further support to explore the potential for innovation in practice. This will include space and supervision for a specific period of time to develop new business models or new ventures. An organised mentored programme Participants will be supported by leading European experts on transition and systems thinking, through a structured programme of learning by doing. They will provide a framework for participants to develop their knowledge of systemic innovation and its economic application. Mentors will be allocated to each region and they will explain and outline the programme at the initial introduction. They will act as mentors during the placements and will lead the crucibles in each region. They will also manage the provision of online interactive learning tools for all participants. Low carbon Crucibles. The last two-days of each placement will allow participants to take part in intensive workshops known as Crucibles. These workshops bring together the participants and placement hosts in each region to share their placement experiences and wider thinking on climate change innovation. Over the course of the Crucibles, participants will be supported to explore practical new ideas and their translation into new ventures. Every participant will also attend the Climate-KIC Innovation Festival which is hosted each year by one of the regions (usually in September). Participants will be involved in a range of Festival activities and will have the opportunity to mix with other participants from cross the Climate-KIC initiative. 4

5 Where will it happen? Pioneers into Practice is a place-based programme. It is delivered across 6 major European regions: Hessen (Germany), Valencian region (Spain), Emilia Romagna (Italy), Lower Silesia (Poland), Central Hungary and the West Midlands (UK). It is anticipated that significant low carbon innovations will be transitions in socio-technical systems such as mobility and household living. The social actors best placed to promote the transition are municipal and regional organisations responsible for systems which are situated in local places. Each region therefore brings together its key regional development players - universities, research and technology organisations, industry, regional and local authorities and others - to provide a test-bed of projects that are focused on changing these systems and are at the forefront of the transition to a low carbon. This variety of locations and the placement exchange will allow participants to understand the challenges of innovation application in very diverse contexts. When will it happen? Pioneers into Practice was launched in The programme follows the calendar year with the main activity (placements and crucibles) in April / May and October / November each year. 5

6 What s different about Pioneers into Practice? Pioneers into Practice focuses on addressing the socio-technical challenges for the transition to a low carbon, sustainable economy. It develops a cross-sector, multidisciplinary approach by bringing together people from a range of different backgrounds in a learning by doing environment. It aims to address the breadth of the climate change challenge while avoiding an approach focused solely on specific technologies in order to fulfil the comprehensive policy approaches now being advanced by the EU. This will be an integrated, cross-european programme, enabling participants to develop a broader understanding of how these issues can be addressed. Who should apply? Entry to the programme is open to people living, working and studying in each region or attached to one of the Climate-KIC partners. The programme is looking for enthusiastic and innovative individuals committed to finding solutions to the challenges presented by climate change. It is deliberately seeking people from a range of different backgrounds - industry, academia, public and voluntary sectors - who are able to bring a diversity of experience and perspectives to their participation in the programme. Applicants are expected to be of graduate calibre. The following will be key considerations in the selection criteria: Commitment/motivation: Participants will need to be able to demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions to the challenges presented by climate change. Development: Participants are able to explain the expected impact on their own personal development and their organisation s low carbon potential. Dissemination: Participants should be able to demonstrate how they will share the knowledge they have gained in order to multiply the benefits. 6

7 What will it cost? Participants will receive a payment as a contribution towards the costs of participating in the programme. In most instances, the payments will be made to the employer/place of study. The payment is designed to cover salary, living costs, including travel, accommodation and subsistence during the one-month placements. The programme will also cover attendance at the annual Innovation Festival. What are the benefits? The programme will provide participants with the opportunity to: Develop hands-on experience of low carbon innovations within a variety of organisational and international settings Go beyond the boundaries of their own professional expertise or organisational background and acquire a broader understanding of low carbon innovation Develop an understanding of transition thinking and systems innovation in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation Advance new ideas which could form the basis for new low carbon innovations and ventures in practice Extend communication and networking abilities as part of a wider group of Climate Change Pioneers The benefits of hosting a placement include: Having a highly-motivated individual to work on a particular project identified by your organisation with their salary paid by Climate-KIC Joining a regional group of practitioners working on low carbon living and low carbon mobility initiatives and participating in the programme workshops Joining a Europe-wide group of organisations committed to stimulating innovation in low carbon solutions for the future How do I apply? Further information on participation in the programme is available on the Pioneers into Practice pages of the Climate-KIC website: Participants will need to be able to get confirmation from their employers/host organisations that they are able to commit to the programme. 7

8 Knowledge & Innovation Community Climate-KIC Further information on Climate-KIC is available at

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