European innovation

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November 2005
Industrial research and development
Industrial policy
Target audience: Specialised/Technical

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Langue English

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Intellectual property Finding the essence of a tool for innovators
Animal testing – innovation supplies alternatives New common approach to research and innovation policy Innovation Relay Centres Newsletter
European Commission DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR ENTERPRISE AND INDUSTRY
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Contents New Research and Innovation Action Plan adopted FEATURE: Innovation supplies alternatives to animal testing FEATURE: IPR – a help or a hindrance to innovation? IRC Newsletter  Network’s annual meeting  Foundry software deal takes IRC network award for exploitation of research  Industry technology transfer award goes to smoother lollipops Fish Thematic Group growing in influence  German IRCs work together to promote innovation NEWS IN BRIEF Eurobarometer survey gauges public attitudes to innovation Europe Innova initiative launches new family of innovation projects SPORT project trials novel way to test policy On-line tools help train incubator staff to support start-up firms BY INVITATION: High-growth firms should work with universities InterTrade Ireland builds new cross-border commercial relationships Mini-cameras will transform endoscopy CONFERENCES PUBLICATIONS INNOVATION IN FIGURES
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From plan to action The Commission has adopted a new joint action plan for research and innovation, aimed squarely at boosting economic growth and encouraging the creation of new jobs. The new plan sets out the measures the Commission itself will undertake at EU level, and invites Member States and the regions to ensure complementary actions are carried out at their levels. The new measures being developed represent a shift from previous EU policies, placing much greater emphasis on making better use of existing resources and activities at regional and national levels. But above all, the action plan aims to renew the political commitment to improving Europe’s economy.
European Innovation
Our first feature article looks at the often-controversial subject of animal testing. It is now widely accepted that alternatives which do not harm animals must be developed. But it is less broadly appreciated that societal pressures to innovate in industries such as cosmetics can also stimulate firms to improve productivity. The EU is taking the lead in developing alternative methods but – once accepted – these will be used  worldwide. And the companies that are involved from the beginning in developing new methods should reap significant benefits.
Our second feature article looks at intellectual property rights. Whilst IPR systems play a significant role in promoting the development of new products in today’s economy, some argue that too many patents are being granted and the system is now beginning to stifle innovation rather than encouraging it. We look at both sides of the story.
European Innovation (formerlyInnovation and Technology Transfer) is published six times a year, simultaneously in English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish, by the European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry DG as part of the European Community’s Sixth Research Framework Programme. The next issue will be published in January 2006.
Published by: Communication and information Unit Enterprise and Industry DG European Commission B-1049 Brussels Fax +32 2 292 1788 entr-itt@cec.eu.int http://aoi.cordis.lu/ Written and produced by: ESN, Brussels
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Legal notice: Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is respon-sible for the use which might be made of the information contained in this publication. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information, readers who wish to follow up any of the opportunities cited in this publication should confirm the validity of the information with the contacts and/or references cited in the articles. © European Commission, 2005 Reproduction is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged. Printed in Belgium
Innovation in the Enterprise and Industry DG The development of innovation policy and the imple-mentation of a range of measures is the responsibility of the Innovation policy Directorate of the European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry DG. Contact Innovation policy development(D/1) Fax +32 2 296 0428 entr-innovation-policy-development@cec.eu.int Support for innovation(D/2) Fax +32 2 298 1018 entr-innovation-networks@cec.eu.int Financing SMEs, entrepreneurs and innovators(D/3) Fax +32 2 299 8025 entr-finance-sme@cec.eu.int Technology for innovation; ICT industries and e-business(D/4) Fax +32 2 296 7019 entr-ict-e-commerce@cec.eu.int http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/ innovation/index_en.htm http://www.cordis.lu/innovation/en/home.html
November 2005
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New policy impetus
The European Commission has adopted a new joint action plan for research and innovation policy which aims to harness these crucial factors in encouraging growth and the creation of jobs. The plan aims to coord -inate policies at EU level, and encourage Member States to seek greater synergies in their policies in these areas.
Reinhard Büscher Much has changed in innovation policy over the past few years. Innovation and research are seen as key pillars in making progress under the Lisbon Strategy relaunched in March 2005. And the Integrated Guidelines drawn up to implement the Lisbon Strategy, to encourage growth and
Greater efforts Whilst the objective refers to public and private spending on research, Büscher notes that “the 3% objective only makes sense if complementary efforts are undertaken to foster innovation”. Hence, the Commission has worked to coordinate its activities in the research and innovation fields, adopting a single action plan where two separate documents had originally been envisaged. Nonetheless, this does not mean that the focus of EU innovation policy is solely on technological innovation. “We want to promote all types of innovation, and the instruments we use in support of innovation are neutral in that respect,” Büscher underlines.
The success of the Lisbon Strategy depends on the com-mitment of the Member States to move from words to action. Indeed, the slow progress up to now is largely because Member States have not followed up the commit-ments made at EU level with sufficient rigour. Will things be different with this action plan? “I think most policy-makers in Europe have understood that innovation is more or less the last ‘bullet’ to improve European competitive-ness,” reckons Büscher. “If we do not want to cut wages and standards of living, we have to innovate.” Whether how to do that is well understood is another question...
create jobs, have set up new structures to foster dialogue “There is a lot to be learnt about how to build efficient among Member States. Meanwhile, key instruments national innovation systems, particularly in the new developed by the Commission, such as Gate2Growth Member States. That is why we foster policy-learning and and Paxis, are coming to an end, with new tools such as transnational co-operation, and why we are helping the Europe Innova and Pro-Inno now coming on stream to Member States to learn from each other. And we need take forward and develop their work. also to make more efficient use of the Structural Funds: there is still a tendency to favour physical investments The joint action plan ‘More Research and Innovation over investment in ‘immaterials’. More can be done to – Investing for Growth and Employment: A Common strengthen the innovation system by building up strong Approach’1 technologyadopted by the Commission is, therefore, transfer centres, investing in incubators andjust being launched at a critical point in the development of start-ups and the like.” innovation policy across the EU. “The main purpose is to renew the political commitment to invest more andTwin-track approach better in research and innovation, and this should hap-pen at all levels,” says Reinhard Büscher, Head of the To date, the Lisbon Strategy has relied heavily on the Commission’s Innovation policy development Unit. “We open method of coordination, which depends on the have to send a clear signal, and the reasons are pretty combination of openness and peer pressure to encour-simple. There has not been enough progress towards age all Member States to improve their performance across reaching the 3% objective [increasing investment in R&D all policies relevant to growth and jobs. In the innovation to 3% of GDP], and the innovation gap between the EU field, the Innovation Trend Chart has been a key instrument, and the US has not been narrowed.”
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