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Research, Innovation and Science

Commissioner delivers keynote address at ZEW Conference: Going for Smart Growth with Knowledge and Innovation, Mannheim

Commissioner delivers keynote address at ZEW Conference: Going for Smart Growth with Knowledge and Innovation, Mannheim, 4 March 2011 - Photos: © ZEW, 2011
"Baden-Württemberg has an impressive record: by investing 4.4% of GDP in research and development, you have already outperformed the 3% target set by Europe 2020....You are living proof of how much our regions matter!"


ZEW Conference (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung - Centre for European Economic Research)

Mannheim, Germany, 4 March 2011

Minister-President Mappus, Professor Franz,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Centre for European Economic Research for the invitation to speak today at the launch of this kick-off conference of the SEEK project on Strengthening Efficiency and Competitiveness in the European Knowledge Economies. I congratulate the State government of Baden-Württemberg for financing this important project that strengthens Europe's top-level economic research.

The focus of today's conference - Going for Smart Growth with Knowledge and Innovation - is a very timely topic, and I cannot think of a more appropriate location to discuss growth, knowledge and innovation.

German ingenuity has a track record of revolutionary leaps that have changed society. Gutenberg's legacy as the inventor of moveable printing type - a world-changing innovation that fostered the Renaissance and the Enlightenment - is carried on by the Heidelberg Printing Machines company. Based just down the road in Heidelberg, it is the world's largest manufacturer of printing presses. SAP, based close by in Walldorf, has become a synonym worldwide for high-tech innovation, cultivating new markets and customers worldwide.

And today I got a first-hand demonstration of German (and Baden-Württemberg's) ingenuity when I visited BOSCH in Stuttgart, together with Minister Schavan. I was very impressed to see the breadth and ambition of their R&D activity.

As a region with few natural resources, Baden-Württemberg has capitalised on the skills and ingenuity of the people living and working here to become one of the most dynamic places in Europe. This is what we want to achieve for Europe as a whole.