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Keynote Address by Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn to the Conference: 'Dublin - A City That Works', 23 April 2010
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"Cities Innovating For Future Growth"

Keynote Address by Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

to the Conference: 'Dublin - A City That Works',

Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin,

23 April 2010

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

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 Future Growth."  

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 "i-conomy."

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 plan.

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 recovery.

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 markets.

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 and innovation. 

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 ideas.

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 year.

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 Global Final.

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 Dublin.

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.

Last update: 30/10/2010  |Top