Blog of Random Thoughts and Pictures

Typical hello world

February 20th, 2010

My first install of WordPress was Oct 6th 2007, and not one entry was made! Finally I’m up and running again, mobile theme plugin is in, but now the hard task of creating a WP Theme to match the original site style has to be done, oh crap!

Is the face of research and innovation changing in Europe?

February 11th, 2010

Photo Credit: Dominics pics on Flickr
Picked up a post recently via ENN Scotland Experts call for new approach to European research and innovation policy and from this a link to a joint statement [pdf] on behalf of the European Research Area Board, Business Panel on Future EU Innovation Policy, Expert Group on the Role of Community Research Policy in the Knowledge?Based Economy, European Technology Platforms – Expert Group and Science | Business Innovation Board, were they have a number of recommendations for a new approach for research and innovation in Europe. To quote the major recommendations that statement highlights
1) Focus on our greatest societal challenges
Such as climate change, alternative energy, healthcare for an aging population, security and social cohesion
2) Encourage new networks, institutions and policies for open innovation
The statements make it clear that the dominant mode of research and innovation is through open collaboration – among small and large companies, university and industry, public and private sector, clusters and trading blocs. This requires an open environment for knowledge, talent and services to flow, and for critical mass to build where needed. Yet the EU policy
focus has not yet adapted to this reality.
3) Spend more on research, education and innovation, in part through bolder co-investment schemes
Access to finance remains the number one obstacle to innovation; there is less risk?capital around, and it’s harder to get at. At the same time, there’s also less public money available for research, education and innovation in the EU on average than in the US or Japan. The suggested solution is to through enlightened fiscal policies and bold experimentation in public private co?financing, making it easier for researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs to find
the cash needed to get their ideas to market.
4) Coordinate and plan RDI programmes better – within Brussels and among the member-states
EC and national programmes for research, development and innovation, are strong to a fault. All too often, there are unnecessary duplications, needless contests over administrative territory, and confusing bureaucracy. Greater coordination among all the EU capitals, a reduction in paperwork, and synchronization of all aspects of RDI funding, regulation, and standard?setting to achieve our aim of solving society’s Grand Challenges.
5) Open competition should be standard in EU programmes
Excellence must be the watchword of EU research, development and innovation programmes.
When I look at these recommendations I do wonder will EU policy fall into the innovation dynamics top 40, that is to say humantific’s top forty reasons why most large group meetings, work sessions, working conferences produce little other than feel good vibes.
Or will I stand corrected and find that a recipe for innovation can be cultivated?
Maire Geoghegan-Quinn you have your work cut out for you.

Update on Irish Future Internet Forum

February 7th, 2010

I’ve wanted to catch up on my writings in the past few weeks, but before moving on into the new year I would like to take a minute to reflect on what has just passed, and in particular the Irish Future Internet Forum.
I was worried about the running of the event, I knew it was slightly more security focused than I really wanted it to be, but I shouldn’t have worried! As I mentioned in the lead up to the event the TSSG team around me were just fantastic and were always pushing to ensure that the event ran smoothly and man did the workshop run smoothly.
On the prep day, the day before the event was due to kick-off there was a ton of things happening all at once, international speakers were starting to arrive, audio/ visuals were quickly getting into place and sure enough the IT infrastrure folks in the Digital Hub were stress testing the wireless network. I must say I was delighted to see this testing, while I would hope an audience are 100% focused on every single minute of the workshop, well really you have to be realistic and ensure to offer a couple of amiable services, one of which has to be immediate internet access for a tech savy audience.
And prep days are great for pushing you to the limits, highlighting all the little things you’ve forgotten to bring with you to the ‘foreign’ workshop venue, from power cords, to print outs, and that one poster you really should have brought! After a few quick sharpe phonecalls and everything seemed to fall in to shape. Well maybe that’s a bit naive, things don’t just fall into place, I must admit there was a very specific plan in place with some weeks which Deirdre, Zeta and myself tried our hardest to stick to and once we did I really did see things starting to fall into place.
Before closing out the prep-day, there was a late call and interview with Newstalk which lasted about 20 mins, and I think it got airtime the following day for about 30 secs. Oh well so much for the 15 mins of fame, looks like I’d have to do 100 hrs of yapping and really I’m not that bothered.
So the big day arrives and before the crack of dawn I was ready of the early start, but I don’t think the lads will ever forgive me for such an early start and given that the first 45 mins were slow going I wondered myself whether it was worth it, but it turned out it was. There were some small items to sort out but I found that once attendees started to arrive, that was it, there was next to no time to concerntrate on anything for more that 30 secs, as there’s the meet, the greet, the make sure we have all the speakers and their up-to-date slides, the press media, the ATTENDEES. In this supercharged time I can highly recommend code whispers, yes those guys with the walkie talkies were a life saver, and ensured that we were never out of sync between the goings on of the ground floor entrance, the arrival of the Minister and the 1st floor workshop room where everyone had gathered.
We had anticipated some delay in the ministers arrival, but to my surprise he was bang on time and after a few press photos we got the event underway.
I’ll leave to the fine detail of the wokshop outcomes to the official report, although nearly all the slides, including outcome results can seen on Slideshare.
And finally hopefully the photo gallery captures the mood of the event.\