Thursday, 26 May 2016

EIC is an Opportunity to Strengthen Innovation Framework

Cefic submitted a position statement and participated in the recent European Commission consultation call “Designing a European Innovation Council: A Call for Ideas”.  Cefic thinks that the European Commission initiative to create a European Innovation Council (EIC) provides an opportunity to strengthen the overall framework for innovation in Europe and that the EIC should be tasked with designing and supporting the implementation of a coherent innovation strategy with a clear impact on instruments, funding schemes, policies and regulations.

You can download and read the full Cefic position paper here.

Cefic believes that the overarching goal of the EIC should be to improve the framework conditions needed to stimulate an optimal and faster market uptake of innovations. The key priorities for the EIC should be to:
  • Optimise and simplify the instruments and funding schemes related to innovation in the European Union,
  • Improve the coordination of policies that impact innovation
  • Become the driving force to realise the objectives of the Innovation Principle, and 
  • Reinforce the perception of the benefits of innovation for the whole of European society. 
“Cefic welcomes all initiatives that can strengthen, simplify and increase the efficiency of the European framework for innovation,” said Dr Pierre Barthelemy, Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Cefic.

The EIC, as a high level advisory instrument, should have a clear value-creating role that safeguards a balanced innovation landscape, considering all stakeholders in the innovation chain (from research institutions up to both large and small private companies) and all sectors that are vital to the competitiveness of the European economy including the process industries, discrete manufacturing, ICT, and transport.

EIC proposal
The European Commission launched a public consultation to gather ideas for a European Innovation Council to support Europe's most promising innovators on 16 February and the call closed on 29 April 2016.

Positive steps have been taken in recent years to integrate an innovation component into EU programmes and policies, in particular Horizon 2020. However, the array of support mechanisms can be difficult to navigate, and lacks the flexibility and responsiveness that disruptive innovation requires.

Launching the call Commissioner Moedas (left) said that "Europe has excellent science, but we lack disruptive market-creating innovation. This is what is needed to turn our best ideas into new jobs, businesses and opportunities." While the number of start-ups created in Europe is on a par with competitors such as the United States, Europe lags behind in disruptive innovation and in scaling start-ups into world-beating businesses. A European Innovation Council could contribute to solving this problem.

More than 1000 replies and 170 supporting documents were submitted in response to the European Commission's call for ideas and a first analysis shows that over 80% of respondents agree or strongly agree that the lack of disruptive market-creating innovation is an obstacle to growth in Europe. Many commented that although there is a wealth of good ideas and skilled people and many promising start-ups, companies are struggling to scale up.

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