EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: Innovation across borders – mobilising national R&D funds for transnational innovation in Europe

EUREKA logoWritten by Pedro Nunes, HEAD of EUREKA secretariat

Pedro de Sampaio Nunes is the Head of the EUREKA Secretariat.

Pedro de Sampaio Nunes is the Head of the EUREKA Secretariat.

When it comes to enhancing economic prosperity and growth, there is no factor more important than innovation. Our capacity to innovate has been accelerating since as long ago as the Renaissance. Today patent filings are increasing exponentially: in 2004 the European patent office reported some 180.000 filings, 10 years later this figure has increased by nearly 50% with more than 265.000 European patent filings in 2013.

Yet, innovation policy has become too complicated. Spread across innumerable public programmes, support to innovators is now curbed by complex decision-making chains, which has resulted in large amounts of public money being deployed by an unprecedented number of decision-makers, agencies and ad hoc institutions. The desire to become more innovative and competitive has led to the creation of new programmes that largely overlap pre-existing ones. Also partly due to thriving global competition, many political actions targeting the innovation economy have not generated the results expected. Against this backdrop, we need to ask ourselves what can be done in order to maintain or improve Europe’s innovative capacity in a global context.

Too much input is not good either. Albert Einstein once said that ‘innovation is not the product of logical thought’. Too much planning and organising would indeed be damaging to an innovation process largely reliant on out-of-the-box thinking. A sound innovation policy needs to be ‘blind’ and not based on the illusion that we know today what tomorrow’s technologies will be. In EUREKA, a network of national innovation agencies and ministries, this philosophy is translated through the bottom-up, industry-led nature of research projects it supports – and in the simple rules and lean administrative structure of its funding and support instruments.

A positive trend in innovation policies over the past few years is that governments are realising that large companies and high-growth SMEs should be active participants in the definition of the priorities of innovation policy. In the past, innovation was regarded as the brainchild of certain companies in a few advanced economies. But today we live in a world dominated by innovative companies, they should have their say. And we should listen.

Since 1985, EUREKA has distinguished itself from other Europe-wide mechanisms by its focus on linking raw technological knowledge and the market. This pragmatic approach directly addresses the European paradox: the fact that, despite scientific strength, Europe performs poorly in capitalising on its discoveries. To be an innovator and initiate change, we must all act like start-ups – with the ambition to take the simplest possible product to market, a product that consumers will want and need, so that we can start learning from real-life experience and then repeat the experience over and over.

89% of public funding available to innovation actors is still allocated at national level, as opposed to EU funding to research. Most innovation in Europe comes through cross-border partnerships, while most investment capacity in research is still in the hands of national governments. This is another European innovation paradox, but one to which EUREKA brings a solution. EUREKA, being an intergovernmental body, brings together both national public and private sources of financing to transnational research projects. As such, EUREKA is an important building block for the innovative environment that Europe so desperately needs. For innovators, the opportunity to exploit national funds and work with partners from different countries and sources for a single European research project means easier access to the knowledge of research partners beyond their own borders – and often to the more potential markets.

The factors that contribute to an ecosystem of innovation are many, and interconnected. We need to understand that while the costs of innovating are steep, a much higher price is to be paid for not innovating. As countries place greater emphasis on their capacity to innovate, their economic success will be increasingly determined by whether and how this innovation potential will be leveraged. The impact of innovation on our economies is only starting to be seen.

About the Author

Pedro de Sampaio Nunes is from February 2013, the new Head of the EUREKA Secretariat. 

He has an extensive international experience and keen interest in international collaboration on matters of Science and Technology, mainly in its industrial application.

Pedro de Sampaio Nunes, a civil engineer, was previously Portuguese Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, a Director at the European Commission, responsible for several R&D programmes focussed on energy and information technology and deputy Director-General for the Secretariat for Portugal’s accession to the EU.

Pedro de Sampaio Nunes is Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of Portugal. 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Russia – US in Syria: Selling Afrin to Turkey but facing off ruthlessly for Ghouta

Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct of Amazon

China-EU Relations: Broader, Higher and Stronger

The US starts an intense currency war to protect its global standing

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

Draghi rehabs ECB into a tool to support growth and employment; a departure from Teutonic orthodoxy

Erdogan’s electoral win on a ‘me or chaos’ dilemma means trouble for everybody

The revenge of the fallen

How Cameron unwillingly helped Eurozone reunite; the long-term repercussions of two European Council decisions

De-escalation of fighting in Hodeida is key to ‘long-overdue’ restart of Yemen peace talks: UN envoy

MWC 2016 LIVE: Stripe gives payments leg-up to startups in emerging markets

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital iron curtain makes no sense in 5G era”, by China’s Ambassador to EU Mr. Zhang Ming

3 ways to fight stress at work

This AI is working with a fleet of drones to help us fight ocean plastic

ILO and EIB join forces for more and better quality employment

A Sting Exclusive: “Junior Enterprises themselves carry out projects focusing on the environment”, JADE President Daniela Runchi highlights from Brussels

Violent disorder is on the rise. Is inequality to blame?

World Food Day: here’s what the UN is doing to fix ‘intolerable’ wrong of hunger

Migrants: ‘A powerful driver’ of economic growth, ‘dynamism and understanding’

Road to Brexit: the UK seeks early agreement on Data Privacy with the EU

What can stop the ‘too big to fail’ bankers from terrorising the world?

Faith can overcome religious nationalism. Here’s how

Bosnia and Herzegovina: MEPs concerned by slow progress in EU-related reforms

More state aid to big firms, no special provisions for the SMEs

The importance of collaboration in the digital economy

Discussion at Europe House: Brexit & Food

How to create a world where healthcare is a right, not a luxury

Human rights: breaches in Russia, the Rakhine State and Bahrain

Ocean life faces ‘onslaught of threats’ from human activity, but tools exist to save it

The need to resume preventive policies for chronic noncommunicable diseases

UN chief welcomes resolution to 27-year-old disagreement over renaming the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The sun’s impact on Earth and weather celebrated, as planet marks World Meteorological Day

World Population Day: ‘A matter of human rights’ says UN

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Press coverage of migration crisis in Europe: a call for collaborative action

Four ways Artificial Intelligence can make healthcare more efficient and affordable

This is why Dutch teenagers are among the happiest in the world

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

Car clocking: MEPs call for new legislation to combat odometer fraud

Informal meeting of heads of state or government, Sibiu, 09/05/2019

3 megatrends for the factories of the future

Dignified health for all who live here

Why are the Balkans’ political leaders meeting in Geneva this week?

EU Council approves visa-free travel for Ukraine and cement ties with Kiev

End ‘shame, isolation and segregation’ of fistula sufferers, urges UN reproductive health chief

Three ways Finland leads the world – and education isn’t one of them

EP President praises Nobel Peace Prize award to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad

Our children’s career aspirations have nothing in common with the jobs of the future

Monday’s Daily Brief: US-DPRK relationship reset, ‘Horrific’ Kabul bombing, Anti-conscription plan in Syria, Climate change heat stress, Security Council in Iraq

EU officially launches its first naval mission against migrant smugglers

Ebola cases rising in DR Congo, but UN health agency cites progress in community trust-building

Encouraging progress made in 2018, in ‘zero tolerance’ effort to end sexual exploitation and abuse across UN

LGBTQI+ and health care: do they deserve more attention from medical universities?

How to talk about climate change: 5 tips from the front lines

Does the West reserve the fate of Libya and Syria for others? How does this relate to the EU’s Neighborhood Policy?

Migration and the climate crisis: the UN’s search for solutions

Essential services on verge of shutdown in Gaza as emergency fuel set to run out

The China-US trade deal will be signed on time; the path is set

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s