The EU Competitiveness Council strengthens the new European Innovation Agenda and research infrastructures

07/12/2022
[Translate to Englisch:] Wettbewerbsfähigkeitsrat

EU research ministers adopted Council conclusions on the new European Innovation Agenda and research infrastructures with the aim of strengthening Europe's competitiveness. Europe is a leader in science, but lags behind the US and China in innovation.

According to the Competitiveness Council, this should now change. In particular, the EU must adapt to the complex geopolitical situation and reduce strategic dependencies in the areas of technology and raw materials supply.

Strengthening Europe's competitiveness is to be achieved through improved framework conditions for innovation:

  • Promoting, attracting and retaining talent: This includes a high-quality education sector as well as retraining opportunities ('life-long learning') and attractive working conditions. Entrepreneurship and international mobility need to be promoted more.
  • Improving access to scale-up financing: The aim is to increase private capital investment in innovative companies. The European Innovation Council (EIC) should also be involved here.
  • Improving and consolidating innovation ecosystems: In order to even out the innovation gap between European regions, the research ministers advocate increased synergies between different funding programmes. This should better link European innovation ecosystems.
  • Real labs: Higher education institutions play a special role in testing and scaling new innovations through real labs ('living labs').
  • Promoting innovation policy: Member States underline the role of public procurement of new goods and services and pre-commercial procurement as a means of promoting innovation. In addition, the innovation-promoting policies of the Member States are to be better coordinated.

Research infrastructures as a motor of European competitiveness

Research infrastructures also contribute to Europe's competitiveness as facilities, resources or services for scientists and companies. Not only because they promote regional development by creating highly qualified jobs. Research infrastructures are an essential factor in the development of the European Research Area (ERA), which aims to create an EU single market for research, innovation and technology.

Against this background, EU research ministers call for a more balanced distribution of research infrastructures across Europe. At the same time, the European Commission and the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) are to analyse how research infrastructures can contribute to the optimal implementation of Horizon Europe and the European partnerships.
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