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

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

Parlamentarians to “break up” with reality in the Google antitrust case

EU’s guidelines on net neutrality see the light although grey areas do remain

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

“Health and environment first of all”, EU says with forced optimism after 7th round of TTIP talks

Germany readies to pay for the Brexit gap in EU finance

China Unlimited Special Report: The trip to China

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: UNFCCC Secretariat Launches Forest Information Hub

Time to be welcome: Youth work and integration of young refugees

EU to negotiate an FTA with Japan

Ukrainian civil war: Is this the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Turkey to let EU alone struggle with the migrant crisis while enhancing its economic ties with Russia instead?

IQ scores have been falling for decades, new study finds

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

EU-Turkey relations: Will Turkey manage to revive the EU accession process talks?

Armenia should take vigorous measures against entrenched corruption

Virtual Doctor: a core part of modern healthcare?

‘Jerusalem is not for sale’ Palestinian President Abbas tells world leaders at UN Assembly

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

Eurozone: Inflation plunge to 0.4% in July may trigger cataclysmic developments

World response to AIDS epidemic at a ‘critical juncture’

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

Time is running out to protect Africa’s forests

EU Commission: Growth first then fiscal consolidation

Plastic Oceans: MEPs back EU ban on polluting throwaway plastics by 2021

Chinese economy to raise speed and help the world grow

Why social working cultures are happier and more productive

Remembering Kofi Annan

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

EU to increase spending and improve delivery of education in emergencies and protracted crises

An alternative view of Globalization 4.0, and how to get there

UN says ‘many humanitarian achievements’, one year after ouster of ISIL from Mosul

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

Apple’s tax avoidance scheme remains as creative as their new iPhone

Europe turns out more jobs this summer

Politics still matter in the US but not in Europe

Mali: Presidential elections critical to consolidate democracy, says UN peacekeeping chief

Youth and Participation: are the people rising up in Spain? 


Legal Manager – 2050

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

Road injuries leading cause of death for the young, despite safety gains: UN report

UN condemns ‘heinous’ suicide attack on education centre in Afghanistan

The shrinking Arctic ice protects us all. It’s time to act

New skills needed for medical students in Industry 4.0

Transition between education and employment: how the internship culture is threatening the foundations of our education

Eurozone: Retail sales and inflation point to recession

Why do medical curricula shouldn’t neglect the Sustainable Development Goals

Why medicine is relevant to the battle against climate change

Fisheries: Commission proposes measures to conserve stocks of deep-sea species in the North-East Atlantic

Syria: Guterres concerned over reported attacks in Idlib, calls for ‘full investigation’

Discovering Europe: Free EU rail pass for 18 year olds

Want a fairer society? This economist says he has the answer

The banks first to benefit from the new euro trillion ECB plans to print

These European countries produce the most plastic waste per person

Storms and snow in Lebanon worsen plight for Syrian refugees

Better protection against non-cash payment fraud

Can big events really go plastic-free? A water capsule made from seaweed may be the answer

‘Collective amnesia’ over causes of global financial crash – human rights expert

Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antimicrobials

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

UN chief appoints Luis Alfonso de Alba as Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit

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