Volume IX, 4-2010
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Is it finally time for innovation?

For a number of years the EU has been promoting stronger strategic involvement in innovation policies in several strategic documents and political statements. Nonetheless, most of the Member States seem not to have managed (by far) to increase their public investment in research and development to meet the agreed targets. Finally, with the Barosso II and the Lisbon Treaty, innovation seems to be put at the fore front of European policies - EU2020 Strategy confirmed the 3% target in R&D, Commissioner Madam Geoghegan-Quinn is also responsible for innovation and autumn Council meeting will be dedicated to innovation.

The concept of innovation is as broad as one can imagine. It goes from research and development to transfer of technologies through environment, energy and other fields. Mentioning energy, one of the biggest challenges is the development of sustainable and smart infrastructure. It would enable gas and electricity to flow between Member States without bottlenecks and to address the diversified supply sources in third countries.

Europe has to answer a few important questions first – how to support development of smart integrated grids in the very near future? Should there be a public support? Setting environmental goals is a necessary step towards creating sustainable use of resources. Clean technologies and innovation in the field of environment can help to achieve these goals at significantly lower cost. The key is to find a good mixture of policy measures and other tools that will stimulate innovation and development. Environmental innovation should take into account various factors of social, technology, economic and political nature. Innovation happens at the grassroots level, not in Brussels, as a result of interaction between companies and researchers. Successful research and development are conditioned by successful transfer into concrete research results (new technologies, products) and it goes also hand in hand with a framework of intellectual property protection.

In a period of preparations to publish the European Innovation Plan, one can come and learn more about aspects of innovation at a Czech seminar “Innovation & Green Economy” that will take place at the Czech Permanent Representation to the EU (15, Rue Caroly) on 14th July 2010 from 13h30 until 17h30 (followed by a reception).

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Other articles in this issue:

Complexity of European tenders
Can we save the Internal market ?
ENERGIZING EUROPE: Nuclear debate in ENEF continues
EU 2020 National Targets