The climate crisis, ageing and growing populations and dwindling resources urge us to transform the way we live, learn, work and produce. Innovation and technology are crucial to make this transformation happen.
Innovation is also key to economic growth and employment. It drives prosperity and the EU’s competitiveness. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing and advanced manufacturing will have a profound impact on employment and the economy.
The EIB Group is committed to breaking down investment barriers and helping the EU to take lead in the next wave of innovation. We aim to drive the emergence and deployment of new technologies that address current challenges and support Europe's innovators to become global technology leaders. Highly skilled individuals and quality research underpin the European Union’s capacity to innovate successfully. That is why we also support skills and training to create new job opportunities and help workers and firms to adapt to market needs and rapid technological change.
Our support at a glance
Since 2000, the EIB has supported innovation and skills with more than €220 billion of investment.
In 2020 alone, the EIB provided €14.4 billion to support innovation and skills. This support took a number of forms:
Support of development and commercialisation of new products, processes and business models
Promote investment in research and development, education, upskilling and training
Improving connectivity and access by investing in broadband and mobile networks
Adoption and diffusion of digital and other emerging technologies
Ideas are increasingly powering economic growth in Europe. The EIB invests in higher education and research to promote the EU’s capacity to innovate and to adopt innovation successfully, such as the construction of state-of-the-art medical simulation centres in Poland.
From nanotechnology to treat cancer to the use of artificial intelligence in medical research, the EIB provides financing for innovative businesses that develop new medicines for life-threatening diseases and health management solutions that help improve quality of life.
The digital and economic transformation of the economy is an opportunity for the EIB to help reignite Europe's traditional industries, such as the automotive, printing, manufacturing and computing domains, while supporting the transition to the green economy.
Artificial intelligence, blockchain and the future of Europe
Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are two of the most significant disruptive technologies of our time, set to have a major impact on future societies and economies. But the European Union accounts only for 7% of annual equity investments in both technologies, while the US and China together account for 80%. However, the EU excels in research and has the largest pool of digital talents.
A new report conducted by the EIB and the European Commission recommends that Europe step up its efforts to address the €10 billion investment gap that is holding back development and deployment of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies in the EU.
The European Investment Bank has been the EU's climate bank for a long time. In order to reduce the consequences of the climate crisis for us and generations to come, nearly all greenhouse gas emissions must be eliminated by the middle of this century. This will require a radical transformation of our energy systems. The EIB is fully committed to backing companies that develop cutting-edge technologies to address climate change.
Elcogen, a company in Estonia, develops technology that efficiently and cheaply converts fuel into energy that can be used for residential and industrial power generation systems.
In Sweden, Northvolt intends to build the world's greenest battery, with a minimal carbon footprint and the highest ambitions for recycling, to enable the European transition to renewable energy.
The EIB also supports the development of breakthrough wind energy technology in Portugal. The company Windplus will install a floating wind farm, located off the Viana do Castelo coast.
In focus: Desperate for digital
The pandemic has sped up digital transformation across almost all economic sectors. Most firms in the European Union and the United States expect the COVID-19 outbreak to have a long-term impact on the use of digital technologies. Taking an early lead on digitalisation is crucial to Europe’s lasting competitiveness.
Our newest digitalisation report sheds light on the state of digitalisation in European countries.