Following Council's request, the Commission has presented the next steps towards the creation of a European Institute of Technology (EIT) by 2009-2010. Compared to the Commission's first communication on the issue, the Commission now emphasises the fact that the institute will have light administrative structure and that the knowledge communities will be guaranteed maximum flexibility with regard to their own organisational structure.
Knowledge communities will bring together teams of researchers or departments of universities, companies and research institutes to carry out research, education and innovation activities in inter-disciplinary strategic areas.
The Commission's original proposal (February 2006) to second the personnel of these departments to EIT for a relatively long period, maybe 10 years, triggered a wave of criticism among the European universities, who feared this would lead to intellectual fragmentation.
Now the Commission's communication on the next steps towards an EIT have put forward new employment arrangements for the knowledge communities. These range from direct employment to temporary attachments and even dual affiliation.
The Commission's formal proposal on EIT, including budget, should be published by the end of 2006.