Lord Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to be here this morning at your conference.
I would like to thank Councillor Emer Costello, the Lord Mayor of Dublin for
inviting me here to give this keynote address on " Cities Innovating For
It is clear to me that Dublin City Council is taking the issue of innovation
very seriously and that this is a central component of your future jobs
strategy. We need to innovate if we are going to create smarter, cleaner and
greener jobs into the future.
Towards an “Innovation Union”
A clear sign of the growing importance of innovation within the
European Union is the fact that I am the first ever European Commissioner to
have been given responsibility for innovation policy. My task is to
create the conditions for a more dynamic Europe, where creative people are
encouraged to develop their abilities, where companies can do better business
and where cities and regions can thrive and prosper. I want to ensure that we
work together with Member States, businesses and stakeholders alike to
transform Europe into a really vibrant innovation economy or what I call an
In March, EU leaders agreed on the Europe 2020 strategy which aims at
overcoming the economic crisis and turning the EU into a smart, sustainable
andinclusive economy delivering high levels of employment, productivity and
social cohesion. Research and innovation have been identified as crucial key
factors to deliver new sources of growth and new jobs.
I will be responsible for the implementation of one of Europe 2020's seven
flagship initiatives: the “Innovation Union”. The first step towards its
realisation will be an ambitious Research and Innovation Plan, setting
out how we intend to drive forward the research and innovation parts of the
Europe 2020 agenda.
I was appointed by the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel
Barroso to chair a group of different European Commissioners in drawing up this
Research and Innovation Plan. Innovation is a cross-cutting policy and I will
be working very closely with the relevant European Commissioners who have
responsibility for industry policy, the internal market, regional policy,
social policy, the energy sector and the digital agenda in drawing up this
I want to hear the views of all the stakeholders involved in the innovation
chain – from research to retail in identifying the key regulatory and political
changes that need to be implemented at the level of the European Union so that
our Research and Innovation Plan can succeed.
Researchers, third level educational institutions and the business community
must work closely together so that we can foster the development of an
innovation ecosystem in Dublin, in Ireland and within the European Union.
This Research and Innovation Plan will be a subject for discussion at the EU
leaders Summit next October, which is a very clear signal of the growing
importance of research and innovation for our economy and for our society.
R&I Plan – a focus on societal challenges
We must use the benefits of Research, Innovation and Science to help build a
better society for us all now and for future generations.
With the forthcoming Research and Innovation Plan we will make clear
Europe's intention to re-focus research and innovation policies on the grand
challenges that our society faces: climate change, energy security, food
security, health and an ageing population. But it will also address our
short term challenge which is the need to engineer a sustainable economic
In key areas connected with major societal challenges, I feel that it is
necessary to launch strategic initiativesof European interest that will be
called “European Research and Innovation Partnerships”.These
partnerships will synchronise large scale R&D efforts on the supply-side
with demand-side actions such as public procurement, standard-setting and
regulation where appropriate.
To secure research and innovation investments of appropriate scale and
coherence, we will need to mobilise capacities across Europe and to pool
regional, national and EU resources, as well as leveraging private sector
investment. It should help our industries and services to take a leading role
in developing new high added-value goods and services for the global
R&I Plan – Realising the European Research Area and a single
market for research and innovation
I want to ensure that our future economy is built on a strong science base.
The completion of a European Research Area within the 27 member states of the
European Union is one of the key priorities in the Europe 2020 strategy.
Supported by the 7th EU Research and Technological Framework
Programme, it will help to remove remaining obstacles and barriers to all forms
of knowledge flows so as to provide the right framework conditions for research
It requires a fully functioning “Single Market forResearch and
Innovation” without the bottlenecks that prevent bright ideas from
reaching the marketplace.
It also means mobilising other policies that have a serious impact on the
conditions and incentives for research and innovation such as competition
rules, fiscal and tax policies and the internal market.
We must put excellenceat the heart of the European research policy and we
must ensure a free flow ofknowledge, the so called “Fifth Freedom” which is one
of the core features of the European Research Area. We therefore are striving
to remove obstacles to the mobility of researchers and to realise a unified
area for exchanges of knowledge, including the EU Patent and common rules for
knowledge transfer and co-operation.
From cities to Europe and back to Dublin
Cities not only breed innovation but they also need innovation. And we
need to innovate quickly. Large populations living in cities means that there
can be a quick dissemination of the benefits of new innovative products and
services to the people.
The economic crisis can force cities, such as Dublin city to take an even
harder look at the present situation and generate a plethora of new and fresh
Innovation requires vision, strategy and tactics, instruments, concerted
action and communication. Local Authorities and Government Departments within
the European Union must become drivers of innovation.
That is why I very much welcome the fact that Dublin city is the European
City of Science in the year 2012.
This will be a great opportunity for businesses, researchers and educational
institutions in Dublin to showcase the many advances that are taking place in
this city in the areas of research, innovation and science.
I am delighted to specifically launch this morning, on behalf of Dublin City
Council, the ‘Call for Events’ for Innovation Dublin 2010 which will take place
at a festival between November 10th and November 21st later this
This is a call to all companies and organisations to start planning now for
your event to be included in this Innovation Dublin 2010 programme.
Already two headline events have been confirmed for this festival – The
Globe Forum Conference in the Convention Centre Dublin and the IBM SmartCamp
This festival truly celebrates the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of
Dublin city. The success of this forthcoming festival is dependent on the
participation and mix of researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators and creative
people to organise events to showcase the innovation that takes place in
At the inaugural Innovation Dublin festival in 2009, in the midst of
troubled economic times, 465 events took place in seven days that were attended
by over 40,000 visitors. Dublin clearly proved its capacity to inspire,
interact, and innovate.
I look forward to hearing in the future more stories of success from the
Dublin Innovation Festival.
In conclusion, we should all remember that according to Plato, the aim of
a good city is to lead the citizens towards a happy life.
I thank you again for this kind invitation this morning and I wish your
conference every success.