Research, Innovation and Science

Commissioner delivers speech at the ERA Conference 2012: 'Fostering Efficiency, Excellence and Growth'

Commissioner delivers speech at the ERA Conference 2012 © EU, 2012

"With Europe crying out for growth, ERA can’t wait any longer. We can’t continue with a situation where research funding is not always allocated competitively, where positions are not always filled on merit, where researchers can’t take their grants across borders, where large parts of Europe are not even in the game, where there is a scandalous waste of female talent and where our brightest and best are leaving never to return"


Brussels, 30 January 2012

Ladies and gentlemen,

You might think that this event is badly timed given that there is a general strike today. Well, that was outside of our control, but actually, today is a very important day. Just across the street, Europe's leaders are meeting this evening. Some of you may not see a connection between their meeting and ours. But there is a very clear connection.

Europe faces a debt crisis, certainly. But above all, it’s a growth crisis. The battle for growth has begun. Everything depends on it. No stone can remain unturned. No sector left untouched. Certainly not research which is the lifeblood of the knowledge economy.

Most of us in this room probably believe that Europe has plenty of bright ideas. We just need to get better at transforming them into products and processes. Well, yes and no. Knowledge transfer is a weakness; we will continue to act on it. But that doesn’t mean that we can be complacent about the strength of our science base. Not at all!