Carlos Moedas (EU Commissioner) :
ambition through innovation
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation explains the strategy of the European Union for attracting scientists and to improve technological transfer through the Horizon Europe Initiative. Interview.
Can you describe the Horizon Europe initiative in a few words and how can innovative companies benefit from this programme?
With a proposed budget of €100 billion, Horizon Europe is the most ambitious EU research and innovation programme ever. Our proposal builds on the success of Horizon 2020, the current EU research and innovation programme. But it has been improved to maximise its impact, its relevance to society and its potential for breakthrough innovation. Horizon Europe’s main new features include the European Innovation Council (EIC). Its aim is to attract the best innovators in Europe, support them in bringing their ideas to market and help the most innovative start-ups and companies to scale up their ideas. It will focus on individual entrepreneurs and companies rather than big international teams. It will foster bottom-up ideas, and keep procedures simple. This will help Europe become the global innovation powerhouse that it has the potential to be.
"Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), advanced robotics and self-driving cars will remain a major source of productivity, economic gains and societal progress."
In the coming ten years which digital trends do you feel will have a strong impact?
Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), advanced robotics and self-driving cars will remain a major source of productivity, economic gains and societal progress. In fact, artificial intelligence has the potential to create between €3 trillion and €5 trillion in value annually and globally. Some of the breakthroughs we are currently observing are in the fields of big data processing and computational power. These, in turn, contribute to advances in artificial intelligence, which is one of the enablers in the current technological revolution. We are monitoring the digital performance of EU countries, also comparing them with 17 non-EU countries, including the US, Japan and China. The results show that Denmark, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands are among the global leaders in using and adopting digital technology. But the EU's average in digital performance is significantly lower, showing that we still have a lot to do to create the right environment for nurturing radically new, innovative technologies. The launch of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) last year was a key step in the right direction: it will provide a safe environment for researches to store, analyse and re-use data for research, innovation and educational purposes.
How do you see Europe competing with innovative countries in America and Asia?
The 2018 European Innovation Scoreboard revealed that Europe is strong in science but underperforms on innovation. The EU continues to improve its position opposite the United States, Canada and Japan. But maintaining our lead over China requires deepening Europe's innovation potential. So far, China is catching up at three times the EU’s innovation growth rate. Relative to South Korea, the EU has been falling behind, but a catch-up is expected in the next years. These findings show that we need a new level of ambition to be in pole position, which is necessary for our future prosperity. We introduced the Renewed Agenda for Research and Innovation to deepen Europe’s innovation capability, ensuring the necessary investments and accelerating the diffusion and uptake of research and innovation results. The Horizon Europe proposal is a crucial part of its implementation, supporting the identification and scale-up of breakthrough innovations.