24 OCT 2018

One year after Helsinki, Paris will host 400 international students from 25 to 27 October 2018, at the Sorbonne University’s Pierre and Marie Curie Campus for the launch of the EIT digital Master School. This European Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program was created by the European organization EIT Digital to strengthen Europe's role in the global digital economy. Professor Véronique Perdereau, Vice President Europe at Sorbonne University, is pleased to welcome digital talent from around the world on campus.

EIT Digital
Kick-off of the EIT Digital Master School © EIT Digital

What is the EIT Digital?

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an independent European body, is designed to strengthen Europe's innovation capacity. It brings together members of the knowledge triangle—research organizations, companies and universities—to form dynamic cross-border partnerships called KICs (Knowledge and Innovation Communities).

These KICs develop innovative solutions particularly in the fields of energy, climate, health, raw materials, digitization and food.

"KICs make it possible to carry out activities around three pillars: education, innovation and acceleration. By this we mean encouraging top talent, reinforcing the transfer of research results, and supporting the creation of startups, incubators and maturing and development companies," says Véronique Perdereau.

EIT Digital is one of the six KICs currently in established by the EIT and of which Sorbonne University is a member. It brings together more than 130 major European companies, SMEs, start-ups, universities and research institutes.

As a leading university in the European area, Sorbonne University is also investing in two other KICs: EIT Climate and EIT Health. This investment will benefit students, notably through the EIT Digital Master School, as well as researchers and professor-researchers, through calls for projects each year that offer funding for innovative projects in the fields supported by the KICs.

By actively participating in this European ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship, Sorbonne University is strengthening its cooperation with European companies, research organizations and higher education institutions.

As a partner of EIT Digital since 2008, Sorbonne University is hosting the annual launch of the Master School for the first time

During these three days of integration and immersion at the heart of the European program of education in innovation and entrepreneurship, the 2018-2019 class of students of the EIT Digital Master School will interact with experts in digital innovation in Europe. Highlights of this new school year include the business challenge, which is an opportunity for the 400 students to work in teams to come up with an idea for a product or innovative service in startup mode.

"Coached by experts, these students from 43 different nationalities will be immersed in this spirit of entrepreneurial creativity and with an awareness of the challenges of digital transformation," said Véronique Perdereau.

During this back-to-school event, they will also be able to attend a conference with Xin Hu, alumni of the EIT Digital Master School and Sorbonne University, founder and CEO of MatchX, which recently joined the EIT Digital Accelerator.

If this event enables Sorbonne University students to discover the Master School, it is also an opportunity to introduce EIT Digital to the University's researchers and professor- researchs at the consortium's presentation booths.

The strengths of the EIT Digital Master School

"Without training, there is no innovation," says Véronique Perdereau.

With the goal of creating the spirit of a European university focused on education, research, innovation, mobility and entrepreneurship, the EIT Digital Master School also looks to strengthen Europe's role in the global digital economy.

"The advantage of this program is its combination of excellent scientific and technical education with high-level international training in innovation and entrepreneurship," says Véronique Perdereau.

Students admitted to this program, which is taught entirely in English, study at two different universities among 19 prestigious institutions, including Sorbonne University. At the end of their two years’ of study, they receive diplomas from both universities and a certificate issued by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. They also benefit from an extensive network of students and alumni throughout Europe.

"This program promotes the mobility of our students and prepares them to work in the anywhere in the world by adapting to cultural and linguistic differences," adds Véronique Perdereau.

Innovation and entrepreneurship in the spotlight

Innovation and entrepreneurship are powerful vectors to overcome global societal challenges. This is why the KIC strongly emphasizes the development of entrepreneurial skills through their Master Schools.

"Through education in innovation and entrepreneurship, we hope to create new vocations at Sorbonne University and support the entrepreneurs of tomorrow by encouraging students to develop innovative ideas," says Véronique Perdereau.

One of the objectives of this program is to move minds, to open new horizons for students and to have unexpected ideas and insights.

"In previous promotions, we have seen that students who did not know anything about business start-ups come up with an idea of service or product. They started developing it, winning challenges, receiving support, and then went further. Today, these innovations are in incubation," explains Véronique Perdereau.

Sorbonne University contributes to the digital revolution by stimulating these vocations, offering training in more digital skills to support it and developing innovative technologies and uses. More broadly, the EIT offers funding opportunities for researchers and professor-researchers from the three Sorbonne University faculties who have market-oriented research projects.

"Today, we would like to bring these researchers and professor-researchers to take up the calls for projects and partnerships that the KICs can bring. For this reason we have set up a KIC support cell within the University," says Véronique Perdereau.

This unit allows project promoters to be supported on issues of fundraising, proposal-building or in finding a partner.

With excellent education, high-level research, strong international openness and technology transfer support, such as the SATT or the Agoranov incubator, Sorbonne University is clearly positioned in Europe as a key player in innovation.