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Innovation Union

A pocket guide on a Europe 2020 initiative


Research and
Innovation
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Europe Direct is a service to help you nd answers
to your questions about the European Union.
Freephone number (*):
00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11
(*) Certain mobile telephone operators do not allow access to 00 800 numbers or these calls may be billed.
More information on the European Union is available on the Internet (http://europa.eu).
Cataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication.
Luxembourg: Publications Ofce of the European Union, 2013
ISBN 978-92-79-28654-4
doi:10.2777/59336
European Union, 2013
Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.
Printed in Belgium
Photos: cover: Andrew Rich 16169777, 2011. Source: iStockphoto.com
p1: Huchen Lu 19422653, 2012. Source: iStockphoto.com
p2: Andrew Rich 16169777, 2011. Source: iStockphoto.com
p8-14-15: Wajan 26886470, 2012. Source: fotolia.com
p11: Andrew Rich 18254879, 2011. Source: iStockphoto.com
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Why do we need an
Innovation Union?
Europe is facing many challenges! So we need to:
create job opportunities for all, especially the young
get the economy back on track
make companies more competitive in the global market
solve the challenges of an ageing population
secure resources like food and fuel
fight global warming
improve smart and green transport
How is the European Union doing this?
Europes future is connected to its power to innovate. The Innovation
Union, an action-packed initiative for an innovation-friendly Europe, is
the solution. It forms part of the Europe 2020 strategy that aims
to create smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
On the one hand
Europe has:
world-class researchers,
entrepreneurs and
companies
the unique strength of
its values, creativity and
diversity
On the other
Europes research and
innovation performance
needs to be boosted
to master the many
challenges ahead and
keep its place in a fast-
changing world.
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The main economic driver of economic growth in the EU is innovation.
This is why the EU needs to improve its performance in innovation, as
shown in the graph below:
EU-27 PERFORMANCE IN INNOVATION COMPARED TO
MAIN COMPETITORS - Innovation Union Scoreboard 2011
But what is innovation anyway? Why is it so important for all of us?
What does the Innovation Union strategy entail? Does it concern me?
Who will implement it?
Read on... and find out.
Europes global economic ranking is changing rapidly. By 2050,
Europes share of world GDP is likely to be half of todays 29%.
So far, Europe has been able to keep its share of world exports
(20%), and in that respect our performance is better than that of
other advanced economies. But China, India and Brazil have started
to catch up with the EU by improving their economic performance
faster than the EU has, year-on-year, over the last five years.
3
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2
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What is innovation?
Innovation is the ability of individuals, companies and entire
nations to continuously create their desired future
John Kao, Innovation Nation (2007)
Innovation refers to the creation of new or significantly improved:
that add value to markets, governments and society.
The Innovation Union initiative provides a broad, balanced approach to
innovation.
For many people, the use of innovation in the form of smartphones
and social media is second nature. Dig deeper and youll see how
innovation has an impact on our daily lives, in a hundred
different guises.
Products
Processes
Marketing
Organisation
smartphone
bar-coded goods tracking
systems
new packaging
training for employees
within the company
4
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Innovation is everywhere,
for example:
In the private sector: Companies
placing design at the heart of
their practices
In the public sector: Online public
services saving people time and
money
In the third sector: Quality
care for the elderly by social
innovators
5
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FR
UK
IT
PT
DK
CZ
BE
NL
HU
LT
AT
DE
SE
LU
EE
LV
BG
CY
PL
SK
RO
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FI
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Innovate our way
out of the crisis
Innovation is our best option to help get the European economy back
on track.
It is widely accepted that investments in research and innovation are
driving long-term growth. The rate of return for publicly funded R&D is
considered high.
But did you know that the countries that invest in R&D are recovering
faster from the crisis as the graph below shows?
R&D investment and economic recovery
6
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CZ
FR
DK
UK
IT
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If European companies are to remain competitive in the global
economy, EU public policies should focus on creating an environment
that promotes innovation.
Business environment and economic recovery
source: DG RTD-JRC own calculations based on Eurostat and World Banks ranking data
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How is the Innovation
Union changing Europe?
we lack an internal market for innovation
we must ensure territorial and social cohesion throughout Europe
we must pool resources in research and innovation
Ideas need an innovation-friendly environment to grow and become
products or services that will benefit us all and our economies.
But we face hurdles:
weaknesses in public education and innovation systems
poor availability of finance
costly patenting
outdated regulations and procedures
slow standard-setting
failure to use public procurement strategically
fragmented efforts among member countries and regions
By improving conditions and access to finance for research and
innovation in Europe, we can ensure that innovative ideas can be turned
into products and services that create growth and jobs.
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This is why the Innovation Union initiative aims to:
make Europe a world-class performer in science
revolutionise the way the public and private
sectors work together, notably through Innovation
Partnerships
remove bottlenecks create an internal market for
skills, patents, venture capital, innovation procurement
and standard setting to foster ideas being quickly
implemented on the market.
The initiative comprises more than 30 action points.
Lets give our innovators the environment they need to flourish!
One of its ground-breaking proposals is the Innovation Partnerships
which aim to tackle the major challenges facing our society.
The Partnerships will also help Europe reach its innovation potential
more quickly, thus giving it a head start in the markets of the future.
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What are the benefits
for you?
Citizens and public authorities
The initiative will lead to breakthroughs to improve
your quality of life and create jobs.
The Innovation Union means:
A smarter economy to support our standard of
living
Better use of public money
Empowering citizens thanks to social innovation
Finding solutions to help us live longer and
healthier lives
A greener Europe
Entrepreneurs and industry/business
The initiative will make it easier for you to market your
ideas and develop your company.
The Innovation Union means:
Improved access to finance
Innovation-friendly rules and regulations
Accelerated standard-setting
Cheaper patenting
Innovation supported by the public sector
Innovation Partnerships to give EU businesses
a competitive edge
Facilitated access to EU research and innovation
programmes
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Researchers and engineers
The initiative will make it easier for you to conduct
your research in Europe.
The Innovation Union means:
Attractive careers for researchers
Training of a high-standard
Improved cross-border mobility
More open access to research results
Enhanced public-private collaboration
Facilitated access to EU research and innovation
programmes
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Pulling together for an
innovative future
Europe and its Member States and regions need to act together in
partnership to help innovation flourish. While Member States
can, for example, change their education systems to foster a more
qualified work-force, the EU has a role to play in terms of coordinating
the actions put forward in the Innovation Union initiative to make sure
things dovetail well.
FROM WORDS TO DEEDS
The European Institutions:
the Heads of State are pushing the Innovation Union ahead as
part of the Europe 2020 strategy
the European Parliament is keeping the Innovation Union high
on the political agenda
the European Commission is developing the initiatives set out
by the Innovation Union, assisting Member States in reforming
their systems, promoting the exchange of best practices and
monitoring progress
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To further encourage this process of change and to promote a
mindset conducive to innovation, the Commission publishes the
annual State of the Innovation Union report. It also brings together all
actors at Innovation Conventions. The Conventions meet on the basis
of the fundamental belief that major companies, SMEs, the public
sector, NGOs and society as a whole need to play their part to
make innovation a success.
The Member States (and their regions) will:
step up (or at least protect) public budgets in education, R&D
and innovation
put in place national strategies for training and attracting talent
improve the use of structural funds for supporting research and
innovation activities
review the performance of their research and innovation
system and identify critical reforms
develop common approaches to S&T cooperation with third
countries
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How can we tell
if it is working?
With a wide range of measures being implemented in different Member
States and at a variety of levels, we need to keep an eye on what is
working and what isnt.
Here are some of the ways to get a clear picture of how the EU countries
are doing when it comes to maximising their innovation potential.
The Innovation Union Scoreboard
The scoreboard tracks a broad range of innovation indicators,
including educational standards, R&D expenditure, patent production
and business innovation.
The results of the scoreboard are used in the Annual Growth Survey,
helping countries work out their strengths and the areas they need
to focus more on.
Innovation competitiveness report
Providing a comprehensive analysis of trends and how things are
likely to evolve in each Member State, the report provides a window
into how innovation-friendly each Member State is. It shows
what each of them needs to work on in order to perform better.
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I3S, the Innovation Union Information
and Intelligence System
This provides anyone interested with an easy way to find out
how innovation is evolving in the EU, setting out:
the key dimensions of the challenges faced
the objectives in tackling these challenges
the approach planned to meet these challenges
key milestones along the way while highlighting the achievements
made and specific events, publications and other activities
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www.YouTube.com/innovationunion
Innovation Convention 2011
what people are saying
There are five principles for innovation: collaboration,
transparency, sharing, interdependence, and integrity
Europe is a real reservoir of talent, of imagination, of creativity,
so its our role to foster that
All those crises are only symptoms related to emerging
technology crises
The ultimate risk is not taking a risk
We want to change the way leaders take decisions in governments
and society; lets start by embracing data driven decision making
We have a lot of innovation, particularly in our young people and
we need to trust them
We can learn to appreciate Science just as we appreciate a great
work of Art
Innovation has to be inclusive and affordable
Don Tapscott
Jean-Paul Agon
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Andr Geim
Eric E. Schmidt
Gunilla von Platen
Leszek Borysiewicz
Richard Dawkins
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European Commission
Innovation Union A pocket guide on a Europe 2020 initiative
Luxembourg: Publications Ofce of the European Union
2013 16 pp. 10.5 x 14.8 cm
ISBN 978-92-79-28654-4
doi:10.2777/59336
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Find out how the EU is putting Europe
at the forefront of Innovation
www.ec.europa.eu/innovation-union
www.ec.europa.eu/europe2020
...and follow us on:
www.youtube.com/innovationunion
www.facebook.com/innovationunion
www.twitter.com/innovationunion
doi:10.2777/59336
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