Thursday, 14 July 2016

Innovation: an Opportunity for Europe Now!

A new report from the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC) has just been published that outlines the state of innovation in Europe today and how a future innovative Europe could be inspired. Report author, Robert Madelin (pictured right), is the European Commission’s first ever Senior Innovation Adviser. SusChem welcomes this significant contribution to the debate on Innovation and Competitiveness in Europe.

The report 'Opportunity Now: Europe's Mission to Innovate' argues that Europe has always been a world-leading inventor. We retain the core skills and deep science culture that have made this possible. In this century too, Europe can contribute a great share of the world’s new tools: in genomics and biotech, in data and materials, in energy and nutrition, in propulsion and cognition, in health and well-being, both physical and mental.

But will Europe continue its innovation mission? This is not a theoretical or empirical question but one of intent and principle argues Madelin. How do we choose politically to be innovators?

If Europe dropped its mission to innovate, the blame would lie not with the world but with ourselves. But if we choose to hold to the innovator’s path, we can succeed: and in doing so, we shall innovate our way to social inclusion and sustainability as well as to productivity, growth and jobs.

This report clarifies what is at stake for Europe and makes the case for a renewed commitment to an innovative Europe.

You can listen to Robert Madelin talking about the report below.


His main findings are:

It’s Complicated… Innovation happens in complex ecosystems. Too often, we imagine innovation in a linear way, as a pipe-line with inputs and outputs. But where we focus only on the pipeline, we miss the real needs of Europe’s more diverse and demand-driven innovators. We need more open collaboration, both globally and between citizens, governments and inventors at home.

Everyone Must Own their Share in the Revolution The world faces pervasive disruption. Europe can own, not merely experience, this Revolution. Europe can catch the wave because we are a mature community of values and an open society. Europe has what it takes to design and deliver an innovation founded better future of our own: social inclusion and sustainability, as well as growth and jobs, are at stake.

Focus on People, Places and Processes Europe needs better assets as well as a broader vision. We have to get back to basics. The three key foundation actions for innovation are:

  • upskilling Europe’s people,
  • using local strengths to underpin local innovation, and 
  • transforming public processes. 

Seize the Opportunity Now is the time for a fresh start. Feasible initiatives in the year ahead, joined up at local, national and EU level and pursued at scale, will bear fruit by the end of the decade.

The report is the 15th EPSC Strategic Notes. These are analytical papers on topics chosen by the President of the European Commission.

Full notes and references, insight articles and bibliography are included in the e-book version of the report that is available on line.

You can read an article by Robert Madelin on his Innovation report published in E!Sharp here.

About the author
The author of the report is Robert Madelin - the European Commission’s first ever Senior Innovation Adviser. In this post since September 2015, Robert was born in England and joined the UK civil service in 1979 after studying at Oxford University. He joined the European Commission in 1993 and became a Director-General in 2004. During his Commission career he has worked on a wide variety of issues including investment, Asia-Pacific trade, services and biotech in DG Trade, followed by health, food safety, agricultural innovation and consumer protection (2004-2010) and digital innovation, Internet governance, telecoms unions and media policy (2010-2015). You can follow Rober Madelin on twitter via @eurohumph.

About EPSC
The European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC) reports directly to the President of the European Commission and operates under his authority. It is composed of a professional staff of advisers, policy analysts and support staff with appropriate experience and track record, in order to provide professional and targeted policy advice to the President and the College of Commissioners. EPSC provides strategic analysis and policy advice for the President on matters related to the policy priorities, and outreach to decision-makers, think tanks and civil society at large.

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