'Cuts in the innovation budget are wrong,' told European Commissioner for Research & Innovation last week in Brussels. 'How can you, in a Europe that wants to be first class? What an amazing opportunity we have in Europe if we keep going the way we know is right,' the Commissioner said. 'We can really be leaders today [because] there are other parts of the world that don’t want to be leaders.' By cutting research, Europe would cede an opportunity to move ahead of science-sceptical nations, Moedas added.
Moedas sharply critizes the proposal from the EU Member States to cut the research and innovation budget with almost half a billion at the Science|Business conference last week. The European Commission proposed a total budget for 2018 of € 160,6 billion. The Council (consisting of the presidents of the EU-member states, asked for a €1,7 billion reduction, mostly in the field of science and innovation.
The European Parliament protested: the Romanian MEP and budget rapporteur Siegfried Muresan said that this kind of budget cuts are putting current projects and the creation of new knowledge and innovation collaborations at risk.
Will a Single European Market for Innovation be the solution?
In a panel on the Science|Business conference, with the participation of Rector Magnificus of the University of Amsterdam Karen Maex, Moedas insisted on the importance of collaboration in research and innovation. Maex added that we should foster networks of innovators and universities.
Innovation expert Luc Soete said that the fragmented EU innovation policy is causing a decrease in the impact of our innovation. In the field of health or energy the regulations are different in every Member State. If we would organise one Single Market for Innovation, our new business models will have a higher success rate and we would create more impact in the world.
The 2018 budget discussion goes ahead of the discussions on the EU R&D budget after 2020 where the stakes are much higher. This is about FP9, the successor of the big European research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.
A doubling of the innovation budget
This summer, an independent working group lead by Pascal Lamy, former Commissioner and WTO-director, published a report. They state that the EU research and innovation budget should double, if we want to maintain the same quality of live.
Highlights of Lamy’s recommendations:
- Prioritise research and innovation in EU and national budgets by doubling the budget of the post-2020 EU research and innovation programme
- Build a true EU innovation policy that creates future markets Action: Foster ecosystems for researchers, innovators, industries and governments; promote and invest in innovative ideas with rapid scale-up potential
- Educate for the future and invest in people who will make the change
- Adopt a mission-oriented, impact-focused approach to address global challenges by setting research and innovation missions that address global challenges and mobilise researchers, innovators and other stakeholders to realise them
- Mobilise and involve citizens by stimulating co-design and co-creation through citizen involvement
- Capture and better communicate impact by branding EU research and innovation and ensure wide communication of its results and impacts
What is the role of the Amsterdam Economic Board
A few years ago, the Board changed from a cluster-oriented focus to working on five metropolitan challenges and connecting innovators and other stakeholders by an ambitious goal per challenge, comparable to the mission-based approach the EU is thinking of.
We aim for future proof education and strengthen our regional innovation ecosystems. We share knowledge and skills developed in demonstration projects to scale up innovations in our region and world wide. We support our stakeholders by giving them access to European networks and projects. If (and only if) necessary we participate in EU-projects ourselves. City-zen is a good example of such a project.
Do you want to join us discussing upscaling?
October 18, 2017, the Amsterdam Economic Board and the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area organise an event in Brussels about the Upscaling of innovations. How can regions and the EU join forces? The EU addresses societal challenges such as climaate, energy and an ageing population with innovation subsidies. How can we make sure this money is spent efficiently? How can we create a real change in the whole EU after the project finishes? Come to our event in Brussels on October 18 to discuss this.
Thanks to Science|Business for the conference and quotes in this article.
Photo credits: Science|Business