Press ServiceDirectorate for the MediaDirector - Spokesperson : Jaume DUCH GUILLOTReference No.: 20110218STO13922Press switchboard number (32-2) 28 33000 1/2
Industry Hearing looks at boosting Europe'sinnovation & creativity
If European countries want to create jobs through new innovation then more invest-ment is needed in research and development as well as more cooperation betweenscience and business. That was the message of a Hearing in the European Parlia-ment on 10 February. It brought together MEPs, European and American businessleaders and academics. Dutch Socialist Member Judith Merkies is preparing a reportfor Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy Committee.
Speaking at the Hearing Ms Merkies told those present that Europe required a change of attitude towards creativity.One of the main planks of the European Union's "Europe2020 strategy" to create jobs isthe "Innovation Union" which is a project to encourage creativity to tackle economic, envi-ronment and resource scarcity problems Europe may face.As the Chair of the Committee, German member Herbert Reul (centre right EuropeanPeople's Party, EPP) put it:
"For us, Innovation is a very important issue when it comes tothe future and functioning of the EU."
More cooperation between science and business
Research from the European Commission says that if European governments and the Eu-ropean Union Institutions spend 3% of their GDP on research and development by 2020then 3.7 million jobs could be created.Some of the plans of the Innovation Union include making it easier for researchers to movearound Europe and more access to European funds. It also envisages better cooperationbetween science and business and bring down any barriers that may stop entrepreneursbring their ideas to the market place.The lack of a close and effective connection between universities, research and market isseen as one a major bottle neck for innovation in Europe. Czech MEP Evžen Tošenovský(ECR) pointed out at the Hearing that even though a huge amount of money is invested ininnovation and research programmes "commercialisation is almost a dirty word in Europe".
A University system fit for Innovation?
Dr Burton Lee, a Lecturer at Stanford School of Engineering in the United States questionedthe traditional European University system: "Unless you get the University system right, theinnovation system is always going to be dysfunctional" he said.Judith Merkies agreed that academic fields in Europe may be old-fashioned and not focusedon applied science, close to the market. "Most Universities in Europe cannot participate inventure capital, cannot participate in loans as they are dependent upon public money." Butshe added "most of all we need ambition, we want a Man on the Moon also in Europe."The Vice President of the Industrial giant Siemens Reinhold Achatz told the Hearing thatwhat the European Union really needed was less complexity, faster decision making pro-cesses and less fragmentation of policy and effort.