European research and innovation exhibition kicks off
The French Minister for Higher Education and Research opened the third edition of the European Research and Innovation Exhibition by urging universities and the private sector to strengthen their cooperation. Valérie Pécresse announced the government's plans to foster cooperation of this type of by helping students on university campuses create their own innovative companies. 'To build bridges between fundamental and applied research, I intend to promote the creation of business incubators in our universities,' said the minister. The announcement came hot on the heels of the French President's declaration that the government would create ambitious university 'zones'. These zones will have a special tax status so as to ensure their development. 'In this way, we will link the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of young people with the research carried out at universities,' said Ms Pécresse. In a new poll published to coincide with the Paris exhibition, 97% of the French public are cited as believing that the government should support French research as a top priority. The poll, carried out by the LH2 Institute, involved interviews with 1,013 individuals aged 18 and over, who were asked about their views on the importance of research. The interviewers found that 90% of those surveyed are interested in the advances made in science, while 64% felt they were not sufficiently informed of the scientific advances made by research, and how these impact on their daily lives. In fact, 'science in our daily lives' has been selected as one of the themes of this year's exhibition. Along with goals for energy issues and the environment, one of the objectives of the salon is to make science and research more accessible to the general public. 'We chose the three themes of energy, environment and daily life because we felt that these topics are of great interest to the general public,' Jean Andouze, Director of the exhibition's scientific committee, told CORDIS News. This year's participants were thus asked to bring along presentations to showcase the main scientific findings over which they have presided since the last exhibition, and to engage in talks and debates about the major topics currently rocking the worlds of public and private research. 'Our intention is to bring together public and private research under one roof to show what they can achieve when they work together. And in fact, when they do work together, it works out quite well,' said Mr Andouze. The twin issues of energy and environment were also highlighted by the European Commissioner for Science and Research in his appearance at an opening debate on the challenges of research and innovation at the global level. Referring to the latest reports on climate change by the UN IPCC, Mr Potocnik, urged all European and international actors to work together to solve the globe's major energy and environmental challenges. 'It is obvious from the IPCC reports on climate change that it is human beings who have created the mess and so it is our responsibility to clear up our mess,' Mr Potocnik stated. 'The question is; are we ready to work together to find the technological solutions to the globe's pressing problems? In Europe, the only choice we have to make is do we continue to work as a team of stars or do we work together as a star team?' the Commissioner asked rhetorically. The European Research and Innovation Exhibition will run from 7 to 10 June in Paris and feature over 200 exhibitors in an area 11,000 metres squared. Spain is this year's guest of honour.