Launch of EIT Urban Mobility in Barcelona to transform European cities into liveable spaces

The UPC, a business project accelerator

The University will lead one of three accelerators selected by EIT Urban Mobility, in southern Europe, with the Pompeu Fabra University, the Barcelona City Council, the CARNET platform and the Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia as partners. Located at the UPC, the accelerator will start operating in early 2020 and accelerate more than 25 urban mobility projects in southern Europe over the following three years.

The other two selected proposals are in central Europe, in which the Technical University of Munich and other institutions in Germany and northern Italy participate, and in Eastern Europe, coordinated by a Hungarian and Czech consortium. EIT aims to have five accelerators in the consortium for urban mobility projects.

The UPC has longstanding experience and is a benchmark in Spain in encouraging business creation, supporting business ideas and putting technology at the service of society. To date, the University’s technology springboard has helped to set up 330 spin-offs and start-ups, which have created 4,500 new jobs, applied for more than 500 patents and licensed 223 technologies.

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The inauguration of authorities counted with the presence of the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Salam, the President of SEAT, Luca de Meo, and the rector of the UPC, Francesc Torres.

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Official inauguration of EIT Urban Mobility at the Smart City Expo World Congress

The city of Barcelona launched the European initiative EIT Urban Mobility at the Smart City Expo World Congress. The event marked the official start of the EIT Innovation Community, which aims to finance projects that contribute to mobility solutions that accelerate the transition towards more liveable urban spaces.

Dec 22, 2019

Prior to the official inauguration event at the Smart City Expo World Congress, a high-level EIT Urban Mobility dialogue was held in which the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala and the president of SEAT, Luca de Meo, participated. Subsequently, the official inauguration took place, with interventions by the CEO of EIT Urban Mobility, Maria Tsavachidis, the coordinator of EIT Urban Mobility, Luís Gómez, the rector of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC), Francesc Torres, the head of the European Commission representation in Barcelona, Ferran Tarradellas, and the EIT head of Communications and Stakeholder Relations, Alice Fišer.

The UPC has played a key role in Barcelona being named the European capital of urban mobility since the foundation of the knowledge hub for research and innovation in urban mobility CARNET— a partner of the Innovation Community—three years ago. “We are a university with extensive experience and knowledge in urban mobility”, explained the rector, Francesc Torres. “We are now celebrating that this collective effort will lead to pioneering education, innovation and new jobs. Urban mobility poses many challenges, which require innovative solutions and a multidisciplinary approach”.

In December 2018, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) chose the MOBiLus consortium to set up the innovation community EIT Urban Mobility. The community consists of 48 partners from 15 countries, including the cities Amsterdam, Munich and Milan, the universities UPC, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Technion and Aalto University, the research centres Fraunhofer, AMS and CTAG, and the companies BMW, SEAT, TomTom and Siemens. It is the first European initiative that brings together the so-called knowledge triangle: universities, research centres and industry, in addition to cities.

EIT Urban Mobility strives for a form of mobility that allows people and goods to move affordably, rapidly, comfortably, safely and cleanly. By 2026, the initiative aims to create 180 start-ups, free up road space in 90% of its partner cities, launch 125 new products, increase shared mobility in all partner cities and attract 38 million euros in investment.

After its first call for proposals in April this year, 60 projects involving partners from all over Europe were selected for implementation over the next two years. The projects range from academic and educational activities to innovation projects and business creation. With the aim of accelerating innovations, projects were selected that included different types of partners from various European countries.

EIT Urban Mobility, with headquarters in Barcelona, will have a duration of 7 to 15 years and up to 400 million euros in funding from the EIT. EIT is an independent EU body set up to power innovators to turn their best ideas into products, services and jobs for Europe. The CEO of EIT Urban Mobility, Maria Tsavachidis, said: EIT Urban Mobility will improve the quality of life in cities, and have a positive impact on climate and economies. After a year of setting up our operations, we are now ready to kick off and turn plans into reality. We are ready to make a difference and to work towards making our cities more liveable for all citizens”.