Blog of Random Thoughts and Pictures

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.