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The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will locate its main site for its new “Innovation Community for Culture and Creative Industries”, or “EIT Culture & Creativity” for short, in North Rhine-Westphalia. Starting next year, different partners will be brought together from Cologne to promote creative thinking and innovation in the sector across Europe. With a turnover of around 39 billion euros from some 46,000 companies in the cultural and creative industries, North Rhine-Westphalia ranks first in Germany. This makes it the ideal location for Europe’s largest funding institution for the creative sector.

It sounds ambitious: An interdisciplinary and cross-sector innovation network is to be built up from Cologne together with regional centres and offices in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Košice, Vienna and Bologna. Over the next few years, the EIT Culture & Creativity wants to set up around 30 new degree programmes and 200 professional development programmes, as well as provide targeted support for around 1,000 founders and start-ups. In addition, creative companies are to be supported in the digital and green transformation. Also on the agenda is the expansion of investments in the culture and creative industries in Europe from the current estimated 30 to more than 50 billion euros annually. “The fact that the EIT Culture & Creativity is locating its Cologne headquarters in NRW underscores the state’s importance as a location and space of movement for creative minds and companies,” says Lars Terlinden, project manager of Creative.NRW. “We are looking forward to a good cooperation and are sure that many exciting things will develop that will give the entire industry a powerful boost and also advance the state,” adds Creative.NRW project manager Ines Rainer.

The first funding programmes will be published in the course of 2023. Those eligible to apply are actors in the culture and creative industries throughout Europe – from individual entrepreneurs and artists to universities, research institutions, cultural institutions and globally active companies.

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