The European Commission has tabled a 10 point programme for action at national and European levels to foster innovation as a main asset of the EU economy. The programme points the way forward to accompany industry-led innovation with public policies at all levels as a core element of the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs.
The Commission seeks to develop the concept of “lead markets” where public authorities, facilitate industry-led innovation by creating conditions for a successful market uptake of innovative products and services in a focussed way. Primary targets are areas that respond to societal demands (e.g. areas such as transport or health, internal security, eco-innovation).
The Commission calls upon Member States to make the structural reforms necessary to deliver the results required. The Commission underlines that Europe does not need new commitments from Member States but political leadership and decisive action.
The 10 actions towards to a more innovation-friendly Europe are:
- Action 1
- Member States are invited to significantly increase the share of public expenditure devoted to education and to identify and to tackle obstacles in their education systems to promoting an innovation friendly society. In particular, they should implement the recommendations included in the Communication “Delivering on the Modernisation Agenda for Universities” for better education and innovation skills.
- Action 2
- A European Institute of Technology should be established to help improve Europe’s innovation capacity and performance. The Commission intends to put forward a proposal in October 2006 and the EIT should be operational by 2009.
- Action 3
- The Community and Member States should continue to develop and implement a strategy to create an open, single, and competitive European labour market for researchers, with attractive career prospects, including possible incentives for mobility.
- Action 4
- In order to address the poor up-take of research results in Europe, the Commission will adopt a Communication in 2006 – including voluntary guidelines and actions of Member States and concerned stakeholders – to promote knowledge transfer between universities and other public research organisations and industry.
- Action 5
- The EU’s cohesion policy for the period 2007-2013 will be mobilized in support of regional innovation. All Member States should seek to earmark an ambitious proportion of the 308 billion € available for investing in knowledge and innovation.
- Action 6
- A new framework for State aid to research, development and innovation will be adopted by the Commission before the end of 2006, to help Member States better target State aid on market failures preventing research and innovation activities. Member States should re-orient their State aid budgets to target these objectives, in full respect of their overall commitment to “less and better targeted aid”. The Commission will also present a communication later in 2006 with detailed guidance for the design and evaluation of generally applicable tax incentives for R&D.
- Action 7
- Drawing on the recent public consultation, the Commission will present a new patent strategy before the end of 2006 and prepare a more comprehensive IPR strategy in 2007, facilitating inter alia the circulation of innovative ideas.
- Action 8
- Building on its review of the copyright acquis, the Commission will continue its work to ensure that the legal framework and its application are conducive to the development of new digital products, services and business models. In particular, it will bring forward an initiative on “copyright levies” before the end of 2006.
- Action 9
- The Commission will test in 2007 a strategy to facilitate the emergence of innovation friendly lead-markets. In this context, it will conduct, after a public consultation including in particular the Technology Platforms and the Europe INNOVA innovation panels, a detailed analysis of potential barriers to the take-up of new technologies in a limited number of areas. In parallel, using this experience, the Commission will prepare a comprehensive lead-markets strategy.
- Action 10
- The Commission will publish and distribute a Handbook on how pre-commercial and commercial procurement can stimulate innovation by end 2006 to support Member States in availing themselves of the opportunities offered by the new procurement Directives.
Communication from the Commission – Putting knowledge into practice: A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU (Microsoft Word document)