“We are at a tipping point” in technological development, was a phrase used by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, at a Brussels conference on 20 February which offered a public platform to launch the conclusions of a major new EU report “Science, Research and Innovation Performance of the EU (SRIP)”. The report analyses the state of innovation in Europe and presents recommendations for the future. While Europe is good at developing ideas and creating technologies, it faces difficulties in their take up by industry and society. “You always need more technology, but you (also) need to deploy the technology you have,”  added Mr Moedas.

The 500-page Commission report analyses Europe’s performance in science, research and innovation and the driving factors behind that performance in a global context. It combines thorough indicator-based macroeconomic analysis with deep analytical research on important policy topics. This is a flagship publication for the Commission’s Research and Innovation DG, with new editions planned every 2 years.

The 2018 edition shows that Europe has a unique opportunity to lead the next wave of breakthrough innovation in areas where digital technology meets the physical world. These areas touch all sectors of the economy and society and include among others

  • digital manufacturing
  • genomics
  • artificial intelligence
  • the internet of things

The report’s findings highlight that economic prosperity and the social model in the EU rely on innovation and that the EU is a global leader in scientific excellence and needs to turn this leadership into more impactful innovation and entrepreneurship. Europe must also ensure that the whole of society contributes to and benefits from innovation. The changing dynamics in innovation means Europe must renew its policies by adopting a mission-oriented approach and better support the scale-up of breakthrough innovations that create new markets.

The findings of this report will certainly feed into the debate surrounding the shape and content of the new Framework Programme 9. On the one hand, universities and research institutes will be pushing for more early-stage research funding, and on the other hand technology organisations and companies will urge for more support for later-stage technology development and deployment. The Commission is due to release its long-term budget plans and its preferred formula for allocating the money this coming May.

The full report can be found at



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This month the European Commission made public information on how it intends to scope and select the research missions that will form the new ambitious approach to innovation in Framework Programme 9. According to Mariana Mazzucato, Director of University College London’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose and drafted in by EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas to provide advice on creating “moonshots” for FP9, missions are not single projects, “but portfolios of actions involving grants, prizes, new forms of procurement and financial instruments”. “Missions provide a massive opportunity to increase the impact of European research and innovation, grasp the public imagination and make real progress on complex challenges,” she says.

Ms Mazzucato has produced a report to help the Commission staff prepare the ground for setting up the new funding formula for the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Missions are intended to be ambitious, even risky, but also realistically feasible, she says. A mission-based approach must be clear on the expected outcome. However, the trajectory to reach this end point should not follow a single path, or use a single technology.

Missions need a clear timeframe – long enough to allow research to develop, while at the same time having a delivery date. Crucially, it must be possible to say definitively whether the mission has been achieved or not. In addition, a mission cannot only have relevance for one member state, or a sub-set of the European population. “It should touch the lives of, or inspire, a significant part of the European population,” Ms Mazzucato explained. She advocates giving flexibility to participants to propose a variety of approaches for achieving goals and reaching milestones and it must be possible to increase the budget for a mission if there are indications extra investment could make the difference between reaching a mission objective or not.  On the other hand, if it becomes clear a research objective is out of reach, the mission should be abandoned.

She lists several potential mission in her report, such as, turning 100 cities carbon neutral by 2030; reducing by 90 per cent the amount of plastics entering the seas; reducing by half the progression of dementia in affected patients; building new satellites and surveillance technology to curtail the number of deaths of immigrants crossing the Mediterranean.



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The European Commission annnounced the replacement of its Directors General for Research and Innovation, Climate Action, Education and Employment, as part of a major job reshuffle at the top of the administration with 10 posts changing hands.  EU President Jean Claude Juncker and Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger announced the appointment on 21 February of five new Directors General, two of whom are women, and five new Deputy Directors General, four of whom are women.

Mr Juncker promised at the beginning of his mandate to increase the number of women in the middle and top management of the Commission to 40%. The new changes increase that figure to 36%, up from a meagre 11% in November 2014 when he became President of the European Commission.

The principal changes see French civil servant Jean-Eric Paquet replace Robert-Jan Smits as Director General for Research and Innovation. Estonian Signe Ratso was appointed Deputy Director General for Research and Innovation. The new duo will have a prominent role in developing the Commission’s forthcoming proposal for the new Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, due by 2020.

Mauro Petriccione was appointed Director General for Climate Action and replaces Jos Delbeke. Messrs Smits and Delbeke will become “hors classe” advisers at the European Political Strategy Centre, the Commission’s in-house think tank. While Delbeke will advise the think tank on relations with the Florence-based European University Institute, the mission of Smits is “still to be determined.”

In the list of new appointments, Themis Christophidou becomes Director General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, the first Cypriot to hold such a position inside the Commission. Viviane Hoffmann is the new Deputy Director General.

Céline Gauer was appointed Deputy Director General for Health and Food Safety, while Martin Selmayr, Mr Juncker’s Head of Cabinet, was promoted to Secretary General of the Commission from 1 March. Mr Selmayr is replaced by Clara Martinez , Mr Juncker’s current Deputy Head of Cabinet. She is the first female Head of Cabinet of a Commission President.


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On 13 February 2018, Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Mark Suzman, Chief Strategy Officer and President, Global Policy & Advocacy, for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Clarisse Lhoste, Managing Director, MSD Belgium and Luxembourg, and MSD for Mothers’ senior executive Ambassador awarded the Horizon Birth Day Prize at a ceremony in Brussels.

The ‘Birth Day’ Prize is an initiative of the European Commission which has committed €1 million, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledging another €1 million and a further €500 000 donated by the MSD for Mothers.

The €1 million first winner awarded by European Commission went to the research team from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement in France, led by Prof Alexandre Dumont. The solution, QUARITE (Quality of care, risk management, and technology in obstetrics to reduce hospital-based maternal mortality in Senegal and Mali), developed a method of analysing and tracing the causes of maternal deaths in hospitals in these two low-income countries, and then applied that knowledge to prevent more deaths. This reduced maternal deaths in hospitals overall by 15%, and by as much as 35% in district hospitals.

CHAI MNH Nigeria (team led by Dr Owens Wiwa of the Clinton Health Access Initiative) is the second winner of the Horizon Birth Day Prize. The €1 million award was committed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This is a managerial intervention at district level, involving health centres and hospitals and skilled birth attendants. It is an integrated programme focused on ensuring that at risk deliveries occurring in communities or health facilities are referred upwards in the system and dealt with on time.

The third winner, the WOMAN Trial run by Prof Haleema Shakur-Still and her team of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, tested and validated the use of a blood clot stabilising drug as a first line treatment for post-delivery bleeding, the leading cause of maternal mortality around the world. The € 500 000 cheque was awarded by MSD for Mothers.

Maternal and newborn health is high on the Commission’s agenda, as the research projects funded by DG Research and Innovation cover a wide range of the challenges faced by mothers and their infants all over the world: premature birth, prevention and treatment of infectious and non-communicable diseases, reproductive and sexual health promotion, improved guidelines and evidence base for safer deliveries. Through EU programmes for research and innovation, namely Horizon 2020, and its predecessor, the 7th Framework Programme, the Commission has invested more than €740 million into research related to maternal and newborn health.

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SOCIAL CHALLENGES INNOVATION PLATFORM – RESULTS OF 1ST CALL AND 2ND CALL LAUNCHED has awarded a total of € 1 230 000 in funding to 44 projects submitted in response to challenges launched by 15 cities around Europe as part of the first call. The selection was carried out by a jury of 7 experts (Dario Mazzella, META Group; Marina Sarli, Impact Hub GmbH; David Tee, European BIC Network; Bernard Uyttendaele, EVPA; Carolina Arriagada, Cities and Collaboration LTD; Fiona Hazell, Inclusive Business Accelerator; Esteban Pelayo, EURADA) and the organizations who promoted the social challenges on the platform

The selected entrepreneurs receive € 30 000 each (to be shared in the case of more than one successful applicant for a challenge) and a dedicated light mentoring programme to develop over 6 months a Minimum Viable Product that will be deployed and tested with the support of the local partners that promoted the challenge. The list of selected projects can be found at

In the meantime, is hosting 30 new challenges for its second call for impactful solutions. Entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs are invited to propose their solutions by 15 April 2018.

See the open challenges at


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TII China Chapter host, Coway International TechTrans Co., Ltd., is organising a joint event with China Resources (Holdings) Co., Ltd. (“CR”) and Open Worldwide Innovation Network, Inc. (“OWIN”) this coming 16 and 17 April in Shenzhen. With a specific focus on healthcare and intelligent manufacturing, the summit will offer companies, who are looking for investment or partners, an opportunity to showcase their business.

On 16 April, the programme is intended to share  experience on SMEs entering the Chinese market to help them overcome some of the key challenges they can face. Topics include:

  • Challenges and solutions when international SMEs enter the Chinese market
  • The policy environment for foreign companies entering the Chinese market
  • The current IP protection situation in China

On 17 April, companies will have opportunities to give a 15-minute pitch about their innovation and take part in the Exhibition Pavilion. Companies will have access to an audience of many hundreds including investors, the diverse industries represented in the CR group, other Chinese industrial players, incubators, science parks, industry parks, technology transfer organisations and government officials.

If you are looking for opportunities in China, don’t miss this event. The deadline for registration for innovative companies is 28 February 2018. For more information about event registration, please download the Registration Guide at

For a detailed agenda of the event, please visit:

For hotel information, please visit:
For local transportation information in Shenzhen and visa information, please visit:

Introduction to the organizers:
CR is a diversified holding company registered in Hong Kong. It is one of the Fortune Global 500, ranking 86 in 2017. The Group’s core businesses include consumer products (including retail, beer, food and beverages), power, real estate, cement, gas, pharmaceuticals and finance.
Coway, initiated by Tsinghua University in 2002, is the biggest professional company with years of experience in technology transfer and commercialization in China.With its broad, global network and extensive resources, Coway devotes itself to helping overseas technologies to enter the Chinese market.
OWIN is a non-profit, international business membership association created with the main objective to provide an exclusive worldwide consortium of services, to expand global innovations and foster entrepreneurship. It is inspired by a joint partnership between Texas A&M Technology Commercialization (TTC) in College Station, Texas; the Wallonia Foreign Trade and Export Agency (AWEX) in Walloon, Belgium; Coway International TechTrans Co., Ltd (COWAY) in Beijing, China; and Trade and Investment Queensland Australia (TiQ) in Queensland, Australia.

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The ENRICH in USA initiative has just launched a call for applicants to take part in an Innovation Tour (IT) to the Greater Boston and Greater New York areas from 10 to 15 June 2018. The pilot is open to early-stage entrepreneurs, researchers, research organizations and clusters based in an EU Member State or Associated Country looking for market information, partners, investment opportunities and feedback for their life science innovations (special focus on innovations in cancer research, diagnostics and treatments and drug discovery).

A total of ten selected applicants will receive the opportunity to

  • Understand the local US ecosystem (East Coast focus) that supports innovation
  • Get live feedbacks to their project(s)/prototype/business plan
  • Explore opportunities of funding in the US
  • Meet potential partners
  • Understand & better leverage ENRICH in the USA support.

The organisers also promise the following impact for participants

  • ≥ 5 meetings/discussions with potential partners
  • ≥ 3 meetings/discussions with top research universities
  • ≥ 1 Follow up calls/meetings that same week/month for expression/validation of interest
  • ≥ 3 next meetings/calls in the next twelve months

Applicants should be individual research actors from EU Member States or Associated Countries (EU MS/AC) who are highly interested in exploring the US market as a middle to long-term vehicle for commercializing promising EU research with the following profiles:

  • Early stage start-up founders spun out of universities or research labs or licensing related technologies
  • Researchers looking for market opportunities and funding for their R&D project;
    Representatives of a research organization looking for market opportunities for a specific portfolio of R&D projects
  • Representatives of research ecosystems looking for market opportunities for a specific portfolio of R&D projects; including cluster managers, research lab managers, tech transfer office managers, etc.

The call will fund 10 participants (only 1 per organisation). The costs for the venue, materials, guest speakers, catering during the event and transportation within the US are covered. Participants will however have to cover the costs for flights to and from the United States, as well as other costs not mentioned above (e.g. ESTA/VISA application costs, health insurance, accommodation, dinners, etc.) by themselves.

Applicants should apply via the f6s website by filling in all the questions and providing a pitch deck (see following website for instructions). The deadline is 30 March at 23.59 CET.

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