The Commission revealed its plans for a European Institute of Technology on 22 February 2006. The plans describe the overall framework for the establishment of such an institute but do not include any reference to its geographical location. A 1-2 billion euro budget, coming from the EU, member states and industry, is proposed for 2009-2013.
The EIT would be a two-level organisation consisting of a central governing body, a system of knowledge communities and other partnering organisations. The government board, composed of 'top personalities' from the science and business sectors, would decide on the strategy and the budget of the EIT and select and evaluate the knowledge communities.
The knowledge communities would bring together departments of universities, companies and research institutes to perform research, education and innovation activities in inter-disciplinary strategic areas. These departments and their personnel would be seconded to the EIT and thus cease to be part of their home organisations for a certain period. The EIT would have its own legal personality and be independent of national regulation. Strategic research areas would include at least nanotechnology and information and communication technologies.
Compared to the European Research Council (ERC), which funds research projects on basic research, the EIT would be 'a knowledge operator', not a funding agency, seeking to educate, conduct research and apply the outcomes of research to commercial ends.