“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
- 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.