Skip to main content

Article Category

News

Article available in the folowing languages:

Aho proposals central to 'future fitness' of Europe's knowledge economy, says Potocnik

Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik has reiterated calls for a more integrated and coherent approach to research and innovation policies in Europe, as outlined in the Aho report, noting that Europe is paying a very high price due to the fragmentation and duplicati...

Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik has reiterated calls for a more integrated and coherent approach to research and innovation policies in Europe, as outlined in the Aho report, noting that Europe is paying a very high price due to the fragmentation and duplication of it efforts. In order for Europe's knowledge-based economy to be 'fit for the future', Mr Potocnik said that the Aho report's recommendations must be carried out sooner rather than later. Published in January 2006, the report details a strategy to create an 'Innovative Europe', requiring a combination of a market for innovative goods and services, focused resources, new financial structures and mobility of people, money and organisations. Together these constitute a paradigm shift going well beyond the narrow domain of research and development (R&D) and innovation policy, the report claims. Central to this strategy is the signing of a Pact for Research and Innovation by political, business and social leaders, which the report says would help drive forward the agenda for the sector. Speaking at a the Centre for European Reform in London on 25 April, the Commissioner singled out one of the report's most significant recommendations, namely the creation of lead markets for technology-intensive goods and services, which the Commissioner believes has enormous potential: 'If we could [...] propel market demand for new technologies that meet economic opportunities and societal needs, we would go a long way towards reaching the 3 per cent objective. Only the blind would not see the enormous potential for doing just that by working properly together at a European level,' the Commissioner noted. To create favourable conditions for such markets, the report prescribes harmonised regulation; ambitious use of standards; driving demand through public procurement; a competitive intellectual property rights regime; and fostering a culture which celebrates innovation. Key to realising such new markets, according to the Commissioner, are the various European Technology Platforms which are bringing together stakeholders, led by industry, to define medium to long-term research and technological development objectives and laying down markers for achieving them. 'They are meant to coordinate research investments, both public and private, at national and European levels. But it would be very natural for them to also take a proactive approach to standardisation and regulation,' said the Commissioner, adding that relevant technology platforms, together with national authorities, could help develop 'European lead market agendas'. Further discussions regarding the role and potential contribution of these platforms to achieving Europe's future growth, competitiveness and sustainability will be discussed at a conference on European Technology Platforms (ETPs) in Vienna, on 4 and 5 May, organised by the Austrian EU Presidency