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Young entrepreneurs find their way into European market for climate change innovation

Zurich, Switzerland, 13 August 2010. Dozens of young entrepreneurs from across Europe today became the first-ever graduates of a novel course showing how to develop innovative solutions for tackling climate change that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.
Young entrepreneurs find their way into European market for climate change innovation

Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) European Summer School in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Credit: EIT

Media release by the Climate-KIC of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology

The six-week Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) European Summer School in Innovation and Entrepreneurship took the 44 students on a learning journey from Paris via London to Zurich, where they learned from members of the corporate, academic and public worlds.

“Europe needs real pioneers: young innovative talents with entrepreneurial and global thinking – there are many exciting new ventures and business opportunities arising from climate change,” says Prof. Anders Flodström from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) which initiated the Climate-KIC.

Launched last year, Climate-KIC's core activity is to establish an integrated community of diverse public, private and academic partners to facilitate the development of a research and innovation agenda leading to projects that address climate change at its root and have a real impact on society.

During this first Climate-KIC summer school, the students learned about the many facets of mitigating and adapting to climate change and, in particular, how to make a business case from it.

“I hope that the students’ enthusiasm to tackle future global climate and environmental challenges now is even stronger than before the summer school,” says Flodström.

At their home institutions and companies, the scholars study environmental or climate sciences, engineering, supply chain logistics, sustainable development, business, marketing or investment – a portfolio of disciplines as diverse as the challenges of climate change.

The entrepreneurial focus of the summer school centred on elaborating ideas for innovations in the four programmatic areas of Climate-KIC: 1) water, food, and integrated land use; 2) urban systems and mobility; 3) low-carbon energy systems and sustainable production; and 4) climate change assessment and monitoring.

On their learning journey, the students stayed for two weeks each at IPSL-ParisTech (France), Imperial College London (UK) and ETH Zurich (Switzerland), which host three of the five European coordination centres of the Climate-KIC.

Novel partnerships

Building on novel partnerships between academic, business and public institutions education is one of the strategic elements of Climate-KIC.

The summer school marks a milestone in the comprehensive European climate innovations agenda of the Climate-KIC. Another Climate-KIC activity is the Pioneers into Practice programme with 90 participants, which will be launched in October 2010. Young professionals from industry, SMEs, universities, research institutes and public agencies will be trained on-the-job in low-carbon projects during three one-month placements in different European regions.

About Climate-KIC

Climate-KIC, the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), is an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to drive innovation in the area of climate change through integrated and creative partnerships between business, academic and public institutions. Launched in December 2009 just one week after the 15th session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Copenhagen, Climate-KIC is now well established with coordination centres in Paris (France), London (UK), Zurich (Switzerland), Berlin (Germany), and Randstad (The Netherlands), and a regional centre located in Brussels (Belgium).

Contact your nearest Climate-KIC Centre for further information:

Reto Largo Director, Climate-KIC Centre Switzerland
+41 44 633 93 15 mail: reto.largo@sl.ethz.ch

Corinne Borel Director, Climate KIC Centre France
+33 1 69 08 91 34 mail: corinne.borel@cea.fr

Richard Templer Director, Climate-KIC Centre UK
+44 20 7594 57 87 mail: r.templer@imperial.ac.uk

Frans Nauta Director, Climate-KIC Centre The Netherlands
+31 30 253 20 44 mail: frans@nauta.org

Aaron Best Deputy Director, Climate-KIC Centre Germany
+49 331 288 2520 mail: best.climate-kic@pik-potsdam.de

Aled Thomas Coordinator, Regional Implementation and Innovation Community
+44 121 503 33 59 mail: aledthomas@advantagewm.co.uk

Carolin Arndt Climate-KIC Communication Officer
+41 (0)44 633 93 41 mail: media@climate-kic.org

Information on the summer school:
http://www.climate-kic-proposal.org/k_education/sumschool2010

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