Innovation and skills
We are a major partner in supporting projects to develop innovation and skills for a growing economy, from financing ambitious large-scale research to backing small, specialised spin-outs or funding digital networks. In 2013 alone, the Bank provided EUR 17.2bn in finance for this area. Backing investments that are geared towards innovation, skills and greater competitiveness is part of our mission to support growth and jobs in Europe. We can help secure such investments and maximise resources using our catalytic effect.
Promoting education and skills
We support investments that improve the quality and competitiveness of education, especially by upgrading schools and university facilities, by backing vocational and other training schemes, or through pan-European student loan programmes to increase student mobility. In this way, EIB lending in the education sector can help improve the skill sets of young workers in the EU and thereby contribute to creating new employment opportunities.
Europe’s future economic growth and jobs will increasingly have to come from innovation in products, services and business models. Technological advances from life sciences to environmental improvements ensure that the EU’s research and development sector is leading-edge. We finance investments in research, technology development and innovation across the board, including joint research programmes at EU and national levels, research infrastructure, academic research in public and private universities as well as for downstream actions and investment in support of incubators, science and technology parks and clusters, to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and expertise between academia and the business sector.
Digital economy the key to long-term growth
Another ingredient stimulating technological innovation is information and communications technologies (ICT) infrastructure. In particular, internet-based ICT will continue to be an essential driver of productivity growth. Investing in telecoms infrastructure is thus necessary to support Europe’s growing data traffic and it is also one of the main goals of the EU’s Digital Agenda. Increasingly, every business is a digital business. So high-speed internet, mobile networks and cloud computing are priority areas for the Bank.
The EIB toolbox for more value added
Our traditional financing products are medium and long-term loans. We finance large projects with direct loans, whereas we support smaller projects indirectly, through credit lines to local banks or other intermediaries. The EIB offers the opportunity to combine its financing with EU grants, depending on the scope and definition of the project. Going beyond conventional approaches, our innovative financial products include initiatives such as InnovFin – EU finance for innovators or capital market activities like the Project Bonds.
The Vienna University of Economics and Business, the largest business school in the EU, with around 24 000 students, received a EUR 250m EIB loan for its new open space campus. It is at the cutting edge in terms of what it offers students, lecturers and researchers.
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The EIB is supporting Spanish company Gamesa’s research, development and innovation activities with a EUR 260m loan. This is helping Gamesa to develop an important renewable energy technology and strengthen its capacity for innovation and competitiveness.
A EUR 110m loan to NOS is backing the roll-out of mobile network equipment and systems. This has helped to improve access to broadband services for consumers, increasing operating efficiency and reducing costs.
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A first-of-its-kind transaction under InnovFin is supporting UCB’s biopharmaceutical R&D. The Bank is providing up to EUR 75m in a programme designed to share risks and returns, with payments being contingent on the milestones being reached.