Innovation in Action
24-25 October 2017, Strasbourg
On 24th of October, seven European Joint Undertakings (JUs) invited Members of the European Parliament for the official opening of the exhibition of the Innovation in Action event, at Espace Emilio Colombo in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Europe needs world-class research and innovation to maintain the quality of life of its citizens, and to ensure sustainable economic growth and job creation. In the week of 24 – 26 October the JU’s showcased, that European public-private partnerships (PPPs, implemented as the Joint Undertakings) were set up to drive innovation in key industrial sectors, namely in aviation, railway, electronic components & systems, health, fuel cells and hydrogen, and bio-based products and materials.
De Colvenaer emphasised that the JU’s are mission-oriented organisations addressing major global challenges. De Colvenaer: ‘By mobilising actors and investors across sectors, disciplines and borders, we are able to create new innovation ecosystems and work at the scale needed to deliver transformative breakthroughs. We do this by combining excellent science with a collaborative, open innovation approach that brings together partners and stakeholders from industry, SMEs, universities, research centres, civil society etc’.
He continued by explaining that JUs are delivering results that are tangible and translating into concrete benefits for European citizens that address societal challenges such as in health, energy, transport, the environment, etc. Joint Undertakings contribute to sustaining innovative solutions aimed at improving everyday living.
JUs leverage significant investments from both public and private sectors. In practice, this means that ~7B€ of EU funding generates more than 17B€ in R&I activities. JUs stimulate further growth in Europe’s private sector, boosting competitiveness and leading to new job creation.
The next morning, on Wednesday 25 October, a working breakfast with MEPs took place. Mr Carlo Borghini, Executive Director of Shift2Rail JU, welcomed on behalf of all JTIs the 15 MEP’s present, who had graciously made time to come and listen to updates about the beautiful work of the JUs, and to express their thoughts and questions in relation to these Joint Undertakings. The last question rasied was about the collaboration and communication between the JU’s. Mr Andrea Cuomo informed the attendees, by way of practical example, about an ECSEL “Lighthouse Initiative” which focuses on the ‘digitalisation of industry’. This digitisation can only be achieved by gaining more and more IT and ECS-driven knowhow, based on platforms, standards and appropriate certifications for safety. The introduction of the ‘Lighthouse Initiative’, a concept introduced by the ECSEL Joint Undertaking to signpost specific topics of common European interest, established a credible means to create a platform by engaging with all actors, programmes and projects relevant in the field of digitisation.
The attendees agreed that the meeting indeed set the basis for further fruitful discussion, and more opportunity should be made available to express thoughts and ideas around these important topics. As a result, future sessions of this format may well be planned, allowing for targeted discussion on specific aspects.