ERRIN update II – on clusters and transport

Posted by I-Blogger on 20/07/10

Clusters

Concerning clusters our Transport Working Group held a practitioner event on 15 June to facilitate regional project consortia for the next Regions of Knowledge Call. ROK is one of the programmes that is very important for us as it is very strategic. It supports triple-helix interaction at regional level, helps setting regional agendas to support research-intensive clusters and helps connecting those clusters internationally.

Clusters are at the core of ROK, but they also receive support through other EU programmes, such as the CIP and the Structural Funds (the INTERREG programme family).

To explore the different angles and definitions used for cluster activities of different EU programmes and to discuss how to align EU support for world-class clusters with the need to support regional clusters to drive smart specialisation our Innovation Funding group had organised a seminar on 24 June, with Tea Petrin the chair of the EU’s high level group on clusters and with representatives of DG RTD, DG ENT and DG REGIO and managers of 3 cluster projects funded by CIP, ROK and INTERREG.

One of the points made at the discussion was that framework conditions are more important than government support to drive clusters. Therefore, MS and EU need to improve first and foremost the framework conditions clusters operate in, creating a true innovation-friendly Union, so we should think twice before creating every more comprehensive subsidy systems, particularly at regional level. However, international cooperation is important since knowledge is not locked in a certain region.

A regards the future of related EU programmes, there was a call for fewer, larger and clearer initiatives. Another important point made was that clusters have a role in nurturing and calling in the managerial talent needed to make great products and conquer markets. There seems to be too much emphasis on R&D in the EU, while what we really seem to be lagging is entrepreneurial talent. So the skills dimension should be integrated more strongly in future cluster projects/programmes. See the conclusions paper for more info. We will take account of these and other issues in our development of future cluster projects.

P.S. In this context: A grouping called “European Intercluster” has recently published an interesting “White Paper” (the term is slightly confusing as it is nothing official) on emerging European world-class clusters presenting some interesting policy proposals such as an integrated programme for regional innovation.

Transport

To prepare for the ERRIN Regions of Knowledge practitioner meeting held on 15 June, our Transport WG had organised two briefings earlier in spring, one on logistics and one on green cars, which I found very useful and inspiring. Green Cars and greening road transport, in particular logistics, is currently on top of the EU agenda. Automotive is the biggest sector in terms of R&D in Europe. What is the role of regions in this? Regions are important for setting incentives and for putting the support infrastructure in place. They can make a difference with their fleets and through public procurement. Electric cars need lot of support infrastructure, which needs to be available cross-border, so talking to the energy providers is important, as is cooperation at regional level, also on clusters to strengthen relevant industries, as it is rare to have all the competences in-house and the industry supply chains are anyway global. This is where RoK becomes interesting as a scheme to charge your clusters with new energy.

Apropos, charging. There is still no European battery, which is why the EU invests heavily in related R&D (e.g. the joint call for electrochemical storage). Range, safety and recycling are important issues. As for all areas of innovation, working cross-sectoral and involving clients and consumers is key also in transport. PPPs such as the EU’s Green Cars Initiative get the main industries and players around the table to prioritise the most significant research topics

Lightweight structures will play an important role in the automobile of the future, as batteries are heavy. The new materials departments have their work cut out on this. And there is lots of need for large-scale pilots and testing, where regions can support their industries. Regions could team up with industry and consumers for mobility living labs. By the way European Technology Platforms provide great opportunities for SMES to get involved and market their technologies. Membership is free, so get the message out.

While the investments in developing Green Car technology, infrastructure and business models are thriving, and were also part of the EU’s recovery package (1bn plus 7 bn EIB loans contracted), one wonders sometimes what this is all good for, if there is no strong demand-pull. Regions and municipalities can and have to make a difference here with their fleets and some have already done so.

But the important signals have to be set at Member State level in tax regimes, for instance, where the EU has no competence. Take Germany for example. In the country that has pioneered green tech and renewable energies those who drive big gas-guzzlers to work can apparently still get a bigger tax discount as the ones driving on low emission vehicles, when they live in the suburbs and commute to work. That’s not exactly supporting sustainable lifestyles. On the other hand, companies that are the incarnation of fossil-driven motorculture in autobahn land such as BMW and Daimler are going full throttle to bring attractive battery-driven vehicles to the market, realizing there is a big market out there, so the landscape is about to change for good.

While electrification may be the way forward for the automotive sector, this is not the case for heavy duty, so we also have to look at logistics, to better organise the delivery of the goods on which our economic well-being depends so much. Our ERRIN transport group is working on this at the moment and we have joined a consortium for greening city logistics that has submitted an IEE project.

There would be more to tell you about what we are doing at ERRIN. For instance on our Biotech/Food group that has held a practitioner event on FP7 KBBE and has just started a Linked-In Group to reach out to the wider research and innovation community. Apropos Linked-in. For those, who do not know it yet, check out the Innovation Policy Group on Linked-in. It counts over 500 subscribers and gets some useful exchanges going.

ERRIN update I – smart regions (Energy, Health, etc.)

Posted by I-Blogger on 20/07/10

It’s been ages that I have posted my last blogpost here. I won’t apologize as ERRIN business has been exploding and I simply did not get down to write my usual piece. But now with the summer holidays approaching fast, here is an update on some of our innovation-related activities within ERRIN* during the past half year.

Energy/Climate Change

Our Energy/Climate Change group had an event on 25 March on “smart regions” to input into the discussion surrounding the European Commission’s SET plan (Strategic Energy Technology) and its focus on ‘smart cities’ and to prepare our work to come, for instance, on the 2011 ‘Regions of Knowledge’ call (supposedly focusing on energy). The event conclusions, which were based on a variety of case-studies presented and discussed, define a “smart region” as one that mobilises resources & investment to:
• Reduce environmental impact
• Improve quality of services
• Overcome fragmentation of policies & approaches
• Implement holistic & long term policies
• Carry out broad-based, high impact actions
• Improve the citizens experience of their cities & regions
• Increase economic development, create employment & new professional skills
• Integrate various energy sources giving priority to territorial characteristics
• Reduce costs of services

Conclusions of this event are in our ERRIN events section.

As one follow-up of this event we are currently planning to organise a roundtable in the autumn focusing more on synergetic funding for high-impact green initiatives in cities and regions. This would take place as part of DG ENT’s Eco-Innovation platform, of which we are a member through our partnership in the ECOLINK+ project.
See also the Ecolink+ Linked-in group for useful updates on eco-innovation and the project.

Health

Our Health group had a wonderful event on hospitals of the future, looking at hospitals as anchors for innovation in the regions. The conclusions and presentation are available online in our ERRIN events section.
 http://www.errin.eu/en/basic100864.html

I can particularly recommend the case-studies from our member Vastra Götaland and Birmingham/West-Midlands for good examples of “smart specialisation” using hospitals and health clusters as drivers for regional innovation and growth.

Concerning the important interface between Health and ICT (see for instance the Lead Market initiative on e-health), our ICT group held a practitioner event for the Ambient Assistant Living call to kick-start consortia and project development. We are also currently working with K4I on organising a high-level roundtable on Health and Innovation at their forthcoming ‘European Innovation Summit’ at the European Parliament (11-14 October). This will be right after the Open Days, the 3 days conference marathon of the Week of Cities and Regions in Brussels. Our contribution to the Open Days will be a roundtable event in cooperation with the Committee of the Region and the CPMR on „Regional innovation indicators/ evidence-based policymaking for EU2020 (5 October 2010)“.

Funding is, of course, key to innovation clusters in the region. We therefore held a seminar on 27 May on how regions can work with EIB instruments, in particular the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility. Sorry, haven’t got down to the conclusions yet. However, we are currently planning a second seminar in September on Venture Capital in September, looking, among others, at SF-financed VC funds and how regions can work with the BA and VC community

Planned initiatives

For this autumn, ERRIN has a number of initiatives planned. Info on all events is or will be available in the ERRIN events section of our website. Here are some highlights:

• A conference on “Science and the City”, supported by the FP7 PLACES project and the Belgian EU Presidency.
• Another Belgian Presidency-supported event will be the workshop on “ICT and the role of regions” organised by our ICT group on 27 September in the framework of the ICT2010 conference.
• We will also look at the “The role of ERA-NETS in the development of regional excellence“, a seminar of our Future RTD Group on 28 September.
• As a brand new initiative we are working on an event on Innovation and Development, which may lead to a new ERRIN WG on International R&I Cooperation. This event will take place on 7 September at the Catalonia EU Representation and will look at the role of Science and Innovation in development thinking/aid and related regional activities.
• We will also planning to present and discuss, on 1st October, the forthcoming Research and Innovation Plan and „Innovation Union“ flagship initiative at the first of our planned „Brussels Briefings“, which are part of an ERRIN regions fast-track ‚capitalisation project’ on knowledge valorisation, i.e. on commercialisation of research results.
• We are also involved in a conference on the “Green Knowledge Triangle” to be held at the European Parliament on 27 October and which is supported by the ITRE Committee.
• Finally, in December, we are co-organising the EUBIO2020 conference, in cooperation with CEBR and European Biotechnology Network, that will bring together experts and representatives of commercial biotechnology across Europe to identify the 10 year commercial healthcare biotechnology objectives for Europe

This autum, there will also be all the different innovation-related conferences the Belgian Presidency will be running in Brussels and in other Belgian cities (see our ERRIN events calendar). So there is clearly no shortage of conferences and get -togethers for the innovation community in the second half of this year.

University Business Cooperation

We have also been working on University-Business relations and the skills dimension. At DG EAC’s University-Business Forum on 5 May, the regional dimension was one of the topics and we co-organised two workshops there. This led to an ERRIN meeting with Commissioner Vasiliou to discuss how funding instruments could be better streamlined to help this agenda move forward. As a follow-up we are planning a practitioner event on life-long learning in October, to develop projects that help to better integrate innovation and entrepreneurship into regional skills-related projects.

It seems to me that in Europe we need a complete makeover of our education landscape. How come that European companies (e.g. Volkswagen in Stanford) invest in the US to create interdisciplinary labs working on the products of the future, instead of doing this in Europe? It seems that the European University system, at least in most countries, is not open for this kind of interdisciplinary work with industry. Can the ETPs or the EIT help bring about that change? I am not sure, as the problem seems to run deeper. Sure, at the same time companies from the US and Asia invest on Europen campuses, but it would be interesting to learn more about their motivations and how to make our universities more receptive and attractive to industry cooperation in order to boost innovation. Can anybody point me to any research done on this? I am sure our friends from the European Consortium of Innovative Universities have an answer to this. I will ask them next time. We may be doing a small seminar in the autumn on this, but it is not yet concrete, so I will keep you posted.

*ERRIN, the European Regions Research and Innovation Network, has been consistently growing since it was founded in 2006. We now group more than 80 members from 19 countries. At the core of our work is to pool regional expertise and exchange know how on how to best benefit from EU policies and programmes for regional development, research and innovation. ERRIN has 9 thematic working groups that meet regularly in Brussels and that organise workshops and seminars for Brussels-based officers and regional practitioners.

Structural Funds as delivery tool for the Research and Innovation Union – Notes WIRE, Granada

Posted by I-Blogger on 02/05/10

This comes a bit late, but I have finally time to share some of my notes from the first day of W.I.R.E. (Week of Innovative Regions in Europe) Spanish EU Presidency conference that took place on 15-17 March in Granada, Spain, with the spectacular backdrop of the shining white peaks of the Sierra Nevada.

The conference brought together key stakeholders and users of the EU’s research and regional policy programmes and was designed to take stock of the most important EU funding streams that provide support to regional research and innovation projects, identify and promote synergies between them and discuss strategies for increasing their impact on the ground. It was thus well in line with the call for more policy coordination as highlighted by Europe 2020, the EU’s post-Lisbon strategy presented by Commissioner Barroso on 3 March. ERRIN was present with a stand, informing about its activities.

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I-mpressions from the Lisbon Council 2010 Innovation Summit

Posted by I-Blogger on 08/03/10

At her speech to the Lisbon Council’s 2010 Innovation Summit last Friday, the EU’s highly charismatic and enthusiastic Chief Innovation Officer, Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn laid out her vision of transforming Europe into an “I-conomy”, connecting and speeding up innovation all along the whole policy chain from research to retail, building a functional single market for innovation and tearing down cross border barriers to IP and VC.

She advocated a broad-based concept of innovation with implications for the economy, for education, energy and for government. “Indeed, innovation is not limited to the private sector. It can – and must – happen in schools and hospitals, crèches, community centres and care homes. In an age of fiscal austerity, we must get more for less from our public sector.” More attention should also be paid to other forms of innovation, such as business model or management innovation, design and marketing, and services innovation.

She defended the 3% R&D target, but also called for the development of an indicator to capture research and innovation performance. The new Research and Innovation plan that is currently being drawn up (the dossier used to be with DG ENT but has now moved to DG RTD), and to be discussed at the informal Competitiveness Council in July, and to be presented to EU Heads of State in September, will take account of this and will be refocused on the grand challenges facing our society, i.e. climate change, energy, food security, health and an ageing population.

She also mentioned the ‘European Innovation Partnerships’ highlighted already in Barroso’s 2020 paper, published on 3rd March, which are thought as actions “to speed up the development and deployment of the technologies needed to meet the challenges identified”, i.e. climate change, energy and resource efficiency, health and demographic change. According to Barroso’s blueprint the first of these partnerships will include: ‘building the bio-economy by 2020′, ‘the key enabling technologies to shape Europe’s industrial future’ and ‘technologies to allow older people to live independently and be active in society’;

Also on the panel:…

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Hospitals of the future

Posted by I-Blogger on 18/02/10

ERRIN event invitation: “Hospitals of the future: care, sustainable development and regional advantage

Date: 2 March 2010, 9.00 – 16.45
Venue: South Tyrol EU Office, Rue de Pascale 45-47, 1040 Brussels.

While we are all familiar with hospitals and demand high quality healthcare, the hospital itself is in many cases an institution that remains largely unreformed. Hospitals and healthcare are a fertile ground for innovation across a broad spectrum from the use of new medical technologies to organisational methods, the use of ICT as well as new approaches to deal with the environmental dimension, e.g. medical waste, energy efficiency.

This event serves to set the scene for a wider discussion within the ERRIN Health group and with other stakeholders on this issue. We will present and discuss regional case studies with health and innovation experts and Commission representatives.

Please note that due to limited seating capacity, participation is restricted to Officer and Head of Office level or equivalent. More information, agenda and registration (pl. register until 26 February)

The event is part of a series of public events (ERRIN Mind Fora) organized by ERRIN in 2010 to reach out beyond the ERRIN memberships and to other Brussels-based stakeholders to showcase good practice of ERRIN members and discuss cutting edge thematic and policy issues. Learn more about these planned ERRIN events

Going green after Copenhagen – from Brussels to Beijing

Posted by I-Blogger on 29/01/10

This week we had a kick-off meeting in Brussels for Ecolink+, an eco-innovation project supported by DG Enterprise under the umbrella of DG Enterprise’s Eco-Innovation Platform (Europe INNOVA/CIP). In this project ERRIN is partnering, among others, with Eurada, EBN and two expert consultancies in the area of innovation management and early stage investment, Meta-Group and Europe Unlimited. The ambition of our consortium is to make this project a true reference point for eco-innovation at European level.

This is going to be a project that will help eco-entrepreneurs to share their experiences, refine their business model and improve their internationalisation strategies. We will liaise with a number of leading and emerging green economy regions in Europe to showcase successful support actions for eco-innovation (e.g. pro-active cluster management or public procurement) and to identify and network those companies (creating a “Club of 100 top eco-innovation companies with high growth potential”) that have the most promising technologies and business plans. A call for ERRIN members to put themselves and their companies forward for this action will be launched soon. This will be a great opportunity for ERRIN members to promote their strategies and actions for green economy and give their eco-innovation entrepreneurs a boost.

Within ERRIN these regions cooperate in our Energy/Climate Change Working Group that meets regularly in Brussels. They met this week to discuss, among others, our planned event on “Smart regions” at the Sustainable Energy Week, which will take place between 22 and 26 of March. This will be in many ways a follow-up to earlier work of the group that has led to the publication of an ERRIN statement in the run up to Copenhagen that emphasized the role of regions in creating research and innovation friendly environments and illustrated this with examples of regional excellence in delivering on low-carbon technologies.

Concerning the messy reality of post-Copenhagen and realising that the guys at the top can’t fix it for the moment, I believe that such a bottom-up push via smart local/regional strategies towards greening industries and new eco-innovation technologies and services is getting ever more important.

Related to this I would like to quote from a recent IHT article on this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos that said that even though the long-term trend is towards clean energy, in the short- and medium term many hurdles exist, one of them being financing: “Even before Copenhagen, many manufacturers of renewable energy equipment … were under pressure to shed jobs and close factories because of the economic crunch…and a lot of clean-technology start-ups were unable to secure venture capital. Meanwhile, relatively low prices for fossil fuels last year diminished the urgency for finding alternatives and endangered the development of relatively expensive clean energy production.”

On the one hand this leads to lock-in effects of continuing investments in old and polluting technologies, one the other it makes clean-tech less competitive. As long as the market incentives are low, many clean-tech companies, therefore, rely heavily on public sector initiatives and funding, concludes the article, quoting a G.E. executive who said that “Post-Copenhagen, there is a need for stronger cooperation between private enterprise and government, and we’ll now deepen efforts at cooperating with regions that control huge procurement budgets and with cities that also really spend money on innovative technologies.”

In the meantime, a veritable race is going on between emerging economies and the West to achieve leadership on low-carbon technologies. While China was not ready to compromise in Copenhagen, its state-run economy with its centralized industrial policy is investing heaps of cash into renewable energies (apart from planning to build three times as many nuclear power plants in the coming decade as the rest of the world combined), while the West is still bogged down from an economic crisis caused by greedy bankers that once again have their bonuses for excessive risk-taking flowing in, like it was business as usual.

China will surpass Spain this year as the No. 3 country in terms of wind power installations, behind Germany and the United States. But mind you this is not about saving the planet, it is about economic leadership and leapfrogging Western competitors to become as dominant in these technologies as in manufacturing, thwarting European dreams of capitalising on its first-mover advantage. Some fear that while much of the research and development as well as engineering on green technology — the engine for innovation — are moving to China to co-locate with the green-technology manufacturing that is already there, Western companies fear they are kept out of lucrative contracts.

The Chinese are, of course, as legitimately interested as anybody in these jobs and industries of tomorrow. Renewable energy is already 100.000 jobs in China a year. On the other hand with their massive economies of scale and low labour costs Chinese companies are able to offer renewable energy equipment increasingly competitively helping to get the cost of renewable energy towards being on par with fossil-fuel energy, and, thus, making ambitious renewable energy goals more likely to be achieved.

But this market is not only about producing stuff like solar panels and wind turbines, it is a hugely diversified market including waste and water management, energy efficiency, sustainable construction, and everything that’s aimed at creating more innovative and efficient processes and services reducing environmental impacts of production and consumption. It’s huge, it’s rapidly growing and in many of these areas European companies are still in the lead providing jobs and growth for the regions they locate and cluster.

Related articles:

A quest for direction after Copenhagen

Race is on to develop green, clean technologies

China Leading Global Race to Make Clean Energy

Nuclear power expansion in China stirs concern

As China Rises, Conflict With West Rises Too

China builds high wall to guard energy industry

The Great Industrial Wall of China

A new EU management generation – cooperation vs. turf

Posted by I-Blogger on 22/01/10


I apologise for my long absence. Recently I have, of course, followed the Commission hearings, at least for those of the new Commissioners that are most interesting from a regional research and innovation perspective, which is what I am focusing on in this blog.

Clearly, this was a great moment for the European Parliament and for European democracy. One MEP quoted by Euractiv said that “we need a bit more than warm words”, which is perfectly right, of course, but I think we should give our new EU CEOs a bit of time to prove their credentials. Let’s see how they translate the willingness to cooperate and the management competence and grip of their future dossiers they demonstrated during the hearings into concrete action. A Commission insider, I spoke to last week, said he hopes this will lead to the emergence of a new generation of managers that is more collaborative instead of focusing on their departmental turf only. However, there is also scepticism, whether political will be enough and it remains important that the MEP’s follow up on this to see what concretely can be achieved at a service level.

On the individual Commissioner hearings, I hope that the proceedings will be out soon, so we can study the oral examinations in more in detail. There was, of course, Ms. Georghean-Quinn, the designated/new Research and Innovation Commissioner, who had a very convincing performance and showed herself clearly in the driving seat, raising the hopes that there will be much more coordination on innovation issues between the different and overlapping portfolios in the future.

Equally convincing was Regional Policy Commissioner Hahn, former Austrian Minister for Research, who stressed the need for the EU’s regional policy to be of benefit to all regions in Europe and who proposed a pro-active urban policy, treading in the footsteps of a former Regional Policy Commissioner, Ms. Wulf-Mathies. Ms. Hübner, his predecessor and Chairwoman of the REGI Committee, applauded him on this, said Euractiv. Most importantly he vowed to bring regional policy goals in line with the ‘EU 2020′ strategy, spending more SF on into innovation, research and education.

Another strong candidate, Günther Oettinger, former Premier of Baden-Württemberg and new Energy Commissioner, also stressed the importance of regions in his hearing. He promised to make energy efficiency and renewables key priorities for future EU funding, both key areas where regions have an important role to play, also in boosting eco-innovation and in creating markets for companies, and related growth and jobs.

Needless to say the green economy was all over the place in these hearings. Designated Enterprise Commissioner Tajani focused on this issue, but also on the need for better access to finance for SMEs, which is a red-hot issue after the banking crisis. SMEs were also mentioned by Ms. Georghean-Quinn in view of getting them more involved in the Research Framework Programme, for instance by cutting red tape to make it easier for them to get involved and benefit from the EU’s R&D spending.

Clearly, if we want to really tackle the innovation deficit of Europe’s SMEs, regional aspects become quite important. It is not the nation state that is responsible for supporting SMEs, but it’s really the regions. And while basic research and big industry has a strong lobby in the FP, which we see, for instance in the annual thematic Work Programmes, which set the funding priorities and actions, where according to an expert I spoke to you still don’t see much research funded that is close to industry, one wonders about the regional and SMEs lobbies. It looks like it’s high time to shape the future FP to better meet their needs and include a stronger regional dimension, for instance by promoting programmes like Regions of Knowledge (which does not seem to have a strong lobby either, although it’s a great, but underfunded programme for building regional R&D excellence and driving regional research and innovation clusters).

To anchor this blogpost, I would like to quote outgoing Enterprise Commissioner Verheugen (or his speechwriter): “Innovation cannot be organised by decree. It comes from people, and only people — scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and their employees, investors, consumers and public authorities — will make Europe more innovative. But they do not act in a vacuum. They act with a mindset and in a framework which either discourages or incites them to enter unknown territories.”

Barroso walks the talk on innovation policy coordination

Posted by I-Blogger on 30/11/09

In announcing his new Commission Team President Baroso has walked the talk by setting out a combined Research & Innovation dossier, a clear sign that the future will see more integrated policy-making in view of innovation. In the interest of a broad-based innovation agenda, it is vital that this is a truly cross-cutting competence that works across several departments.

The new Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has served as the justice and tourism minister in Ireland’s government, and has worked at the European Court of Auditors since 1999. The fact that she is from Ireland, which has been quite proactive in developing a knowledge-based society through research, is generally seen as a great asset.

Another lucky choice is the appointment of Austrian Research Minister Hahn for the job as regional policy commissioner, which bodes well for a regional policy post-2013 that does more to invest in the future and help improve the research and innovation ecologies in the regions.

However, one swallow (or in this case two) does not make a summer, as the proverb says. Much will depends on the willingness of the EU Member States to subscribe in theory and practice to Baroso’s vision of integrated policy-making across levels of governance and to find meaningful arrangement for policy-coordination and benchmarking as outlined in his political guidelines and in the consultation paper for the EU vision 2020.

Or as Ann Mettler of the Lisbon Council Think Tank aptly put it, “the EU 2020 agenda needs a much improved governance and ownership structure, as well as a new modus operandi that will credibly embody the innovation and renewal that is the very foundation of this strategy.”

It goes without saying that regions need to be fully integrated into this new ownership structure, since they play a crucial role in making Europe more innovative both through the elaboration of regional innovation strategies, stimulating and supporting triple helix interactions, e.g. through cluster management, and as territorial delivery points for EU policy and funding programmes.

So far regions are not really prominently mentioned in the EU 2020 consultation paper (only in view of the necessary active support of all stakeholders and “take up across all the regions of the EU” but not as key delivery points for the strategy). Also the proposal to effectively abolish the competitiveness objective in the Structural Funds (in the meanwhile withdrawn draft communicationb on the EU budget review) did not help to brighten the regions up …

UPDATE 10 December: I just learned that the European Commission’s research directorate general is to take over the 4-billion-euro Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme in the next Commission, which will be very important, of course, to bring the research and innovation funding streams closer together and streamline research and innovation funding in Europe.

From socialisation of debt to socialisation of knowledge

Posted by I-Blogger on 28/10/09

I would like to share this inspiring and thought-provoking presentation with you.

What’s it about?

Prof Luc Soete, Director UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, Member DG Research Expert Group sees a new trend and challenge to technology and innovation policy: from the political obsession with technological competitiveness to a new global view in which access, diffusion and effective use become the central elements. He, thus, sees as strong rationale for European versus national research policies.

But he also said that “if issues of effective governance at EU level are not addressed as an issue of absolute priority, the crisis shock might actually go the other way: questioning increasingly the valued added of Community research and leading to a future ERA that is based much more on MS’ national efforts at attracting research talent within their own borders.”

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Join the ERRIN Mind Forum

Posted by I-Blogger on 27/10/09


Dear friends of innovation. You are kindly invited to join our ERRIN Mind Forum on 18 November 2009 at VLEVA (Liaison Agency Flanders Europe), Kortenberglaan 71, B-1000 Brussels.

Background to the event:

Europe’s economy is slowly coming out of troubled waters and what some have described as ‘a perfect storm’. However, it will not be enough for its leaders to simply determine Europe’s present position and patch the sails. There is a clear need to readjust its navigational instruments.
The current debate on the EU’s post-Lisbon economic strategy is about steering towards sustainable growth, a clean and green economy, long-term competitiveness and prosperity and sustaining the European way of life for generations to come. This is the perfect opportunity for ERRIN, the European Regions Research and Innovation Network, to initiate a debate on the right course of action towards full economic recovery and competitive regions fit for the knowledge economy.

Our speakers

Danuta Hübner, Member of European Parliament, Chair of Regional Development Committee

Ziga Turk, Secretary General, Reflection Group on the Future of Europe

Gerard De Graaf, Head of Unit, Strategic Objective Prosperity, European Commission, Secretariat General

Mike Tremblay, Innovation, Research and Technology Advisor, London/Toronto

Mikel Landabaso, Head of Unit, Thematic coordination and innovation, European Commission, DG Regio

Jean David Malo, Head of Unit, Regions of knowledge and research potential, European Commission, DG RTD

Andrew Davies, Head of Unit, Innovation and Competitiveness, Regional Competitiveness and Governance Division, OECD

Plus: Speakers from ERRIN regions presenting regional flagship strategies and actions

Detailed conference programme

To register please send an email to communication(at)errin.eu, subject space: “ERRIN MIND FORUM”, until 6 Nov. 2009

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