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Address by Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn to Intel, Leixlip, 13 October 2011
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"Europe is committed to supporting New Technologies"

Address by European Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan-Quinn

to Intel, Leixlip,

13 October 2011

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn with Justin Rattner, Intel CTO, Leonard Hobbs, Silicon Research Manager, Commissioner holding 450mm wafer and Ilkka Rasanen, Intel Brussels GPP Manager

Mr Rattner, Mr Sinnott, Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be here at this magnificent Intel facility today to address your annual conference on European Research and Innovation.

This is a difficult time for Europe, for our economy and our industries. And especially for the people. But this must also be a time for positive change and for seizing new opportunities. Business-as-usual is no longer an option. Europe has to continuously strengthen its knowledge base to remain competitive. 

Europe's future depends on competitive industries that are able to grow and create jobs. This means investing in research and in new technologies and in creating a climate that boosts innovation.

We are facing an innovation emergency. We need much more innovation in Europe, and we need it fast.

Moore's Law is a principle that will be known to everyone in the room today, since it was the brainchild of Intel’s co-founder, Gordon Moore. It's a law that Intel certainly lives by.  It describes the pace of developments in semiconductor technology – the number of transistors and resistors that can be placed on a chip doubles approximately every 24 months. 

Could we have a Moore's law for innovation – whereby European innovation increases exponentially?  Maybe that is setting the bar too high, but we must nevertheless be very ambitious in our innovation goals: I want to see rapid and sustained growth in innovation in Europe.

We have just marked the first anniversary of Innovation Union, Europe's plan to put innovation at the heart of all of our policies as the major driver of growth and jobs. 

We are performing well on our Innovation Union commitments, sticking to the timetable that we set.  

For example, we have already tabled proposals for the creation of a single European patent - that will end the current costly lack of an internal market for patent protection – and on speeding up standard setting at an EU level so that market uptake on innovations can be scaled up. 

Perhaps the biggest barrier to innovation in Europe is access to finance. If we want more fast-growing innovative companies, we have to make financing available to them. We are attacking the financing issue on three fronts: 

First, by the end of this year, we will put forward a proposal for an EU-wide venture capital scheme, building on the capacity of the European Investment Fund, other financial institutions and national operators. 

Second, during 2012, we aim to lift the remaining legal and administrative obstacles to the cross-border operation of venture capital funds. 

And third, post 2013, we plan to develop a new generation of EU-level financial instruments for debt and equity to overcome market gaps and attract a major increase in private finance for research and innovation. 

I believe that these measures are crucial for Europe's innovation performance. 

One of my biggest tasks now is to launch a new framework for the financing of research and innovation at the European level. When EU heads of state and government discussed innovation at their meeting on 4 February this year, they called on the European Commission to bring together all of the EU's research and innovation funding under a single common strategic framework. 

We want to create a coherent set of support instruments along the whole innovation chain from basic research to market uptake. We have to make EU research and innovation funding more efficient, give it a greater impact and make it much easier for participants – our scientists, our universities and our entrepreneurs - to access the money available. And it is crucial to ensure that EU funding gets the best possible value for money, and the biggest possible impact, from every Euro invested. 

Earlier this year, we published a Green Paper consulting with interested parties on how best to finance our research and innovation effort during the period 2014 – 2020. The Green Paper identified three strategic objectives for financing: raising the levels of excellence in the research base, increasing competitiveness and tackling major societal challenges. There was an overwhelming public response to the consultation – more than 2000 online responses and consolidated position papers were submitted. 

I would like to thank Intel for responding to this consultation and for providing detailed comments and practical suggestions. 

I was also gratified to see Intel’s active support for the EU's vision set out in the Europe 2020 strategy and for supporting both the Innovation Union and Digital Agenda initiatives.    

Intel based its comments on extensive experience from participating in collaborative research projects under the 6th and 7th Research Framework Programmes. Intel Labs Europe, headed by Dr Martin Curley, is currently partnering on 26 different projects under the 7th Framework Programme, mostly through the Leixlip operations, receiving total EU funding of around 9.5 million Euro. 

Intel has of course invested heavily in research, development and innovation in Ireland, but elsewhere in Europe as well. 

Besides Leixlip, Intel's other European labs include, in particular,  Barcelona, working on increasing chip performance and energy efficiency; two labs in Germany that are developing many-core processors and system-on-a-chip designs, as well as tools for high-performing computing systems and computer clusters; and the Gdansk lab in Poland, focusing on reprogrammable silicon for networking and telecommunications equipment. 

I like to think of the recipients of money from the Research Framework Programme as co-partners in the fight to put research and innovation at the heart of our economic recovery. Intel is a valued interlocutor and stakeholder, demonstrated through your commitment to employment in Europe and to your participation in the Framework Programmes. 

I hope that this commitment to Europe and to Ireland will continue, and I fully expect you to be an active and valued co-partner in Horizon 2020, the new EU programme to fund research and innovation. This new programme brings together FP7, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology under one simplified and streamlined structure. 

Intel also highlighted the importance of simplifying Horizon 2020 compared to the previous Framework Programmes. Since the day I took office as the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, I have made this one of my top priorities. 

It is not just big multinationals like Intel that are demanding this, so are universities, research teams and SMEs. All stand to benefit from simplification by being freed up to do what they are good at – research, invention, and innovation – rather than dealing with unnecessary bureaucracy. 

Horizon 2020 will usher in far-reaching simplification by moving towards a standardised set of rules and procedures across all instruments. I introduced a number of FP7 simplification measures earlier this year and I am committed to more radical simplification under Horizon 2020.

My services within the European Commission have spent the last few months digesting the responses received to the Green Paper public consultation and within the next two months, the Commission will bring forward its proposals for Horizon 2020. 

I cannot go into too much detail at this stage, but I can say that we intend to structure the programme around three distinct, but mutually reinforcing blocks, in line with Europe 2020 priorities and to support Innovation Union. 

The first block, 'Excellence in the science base', will strengthen the EU's excellence in science, particularly through a significant strengthening of the spectacularly successful European Research Council. 

The second block, 'Creating industrial leadership and competitive frameworks', will support business research and innovation. Actions will cover increasing investment in enabling and industrial technologies and support for innovation in SMEs with high growth potential. 

The third block, 'Tackling societal challenges', will respond directly to challenges identified in Europe 2020. Its focus will be on the challenges of: health, demographic change and well-being; food security and the bio-based economy; energy; transport; supply of raw materials; resource efficiency and climate action; inclusive, innovative and secure societies. 

We will ensure that Horizon 2020 has an appropriate budget so that it can support the EU's pro-jobs agenda. A major achievement this year is that even in times of hard budget choices for governments, there is strong agreement among EU Member States that investment in research and innovation is essential to deliver growth and employment. 

Indeed, Irish government spending on science, technology and innovation programmes is due to increase by 9% in 2011 to approximately 460 million Euro. 

According to economists, reaching the target agreed by Member States to invest 3% of GDP in Europe in research and development could create nearly four million jobs in Europe by 2025. We are moving in the right direction, but at only 2% of GDP, we are still some way away from our goal.

The majority of that 3% should come from the private sector, but the public sector of course has a very important role to play. Governments across Europe are increasing investment in research and innovation as one important weapon in the fight to get out of the current economic crisis. 

And we will ensure that Horizon 2020 will extend our commitment to creating opportunities for the public and private sectors to work together at European level. 

It is important to have a place for large-scale collaboration between industry and the public sector, with the critical mass necessary to reach their objectives. 

We will certainly learn from and build upon the positive experiences of the different forms of public-private partnerships that we developed under FP7 through the Joint Technology Initiatives – including ARTEMIS on Embedded Computing Systems and ENIAC on Nanoelectronics Technologies - the Recovery Plan Public-Private Partnerships on Factories of the Future, Energy-Efficient Buildings and Green Cars; and the European Industrial Initiatives under the SET Plan aimed at the rapid development of key energy technologies. 

Horizon 2020 will be high-impact. It will be far-sighted and innovative in its design and its operation. 

First, it will take a broad approach to innovation and will be designed for maximum impact by providing support in a seamless way across the entire spectrum from idea to market. 

Second, this seamless approach will be taken through a limited number of funding schemes that rebalances our action towards innovation, including prototyping, dissemination, demonstration, pilots, testing, user involvement, market replication and public procurement. Indeed, we must use the huge public procurement markets in a strategic way to leverage the uptake of innovative products and services. Taxpayers get better value for money and higher quality public services and infrastructure, while European companies will get a return on their investment in innovation.  

Third, Horizon 2020 will respond to people's concerns more directly. Through a challenge-driven  approach, activities will be more focused on problem-solving and will typically cut across sectors, technologies and disciplines. 

Fourth, as I already mentioned, Horizon 2020 will be radically simplified and streamlined, with a rationalised set of funding schemes, and a single set of rules. 

A major component of Horizon 2020 will be support for what we call the Key Enabling Technologies, or KETs, in particular nanoelectronics, nanotechnology, materials and manufacturing systems. 

These will be a priority in the next programme to ensure that Europe remains a world leader in developing these technologies. Besides the economic imperative to stay ahead in new technologies, they are also vital to finding high-tech solutions to many of our societal challenges, such as climate change, energy and food security, and tackling diseases. 

Our proposals will be greatly informed by the conclusions of the High-Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies – of which Eamon Sinnott and Jim O'Hara from Intel were members. 

As recommended by the High-Level Expert Group, we will ensure an integrated approach to KETs across Horizon 2020, but particularly under the second block on “Creating industrial leadership and competitive frameworks”. 

We will make sure to implement the Expert Group’s main recommendation to offer seamless support with an emphasis on innovation – from basic research, through development and prototyping, all the way to manufacturing. 

Intellectual property rights play an important role in turning research results into innovations. As in previous Framework Programmes the rules of participation will encourage protection, exploitation and dissemination of the results of EU funded research, in accordance with our objective of strengthening the competitiveness of EU industries and of generating growth and jobs. 

While we will provide a simple set of standard IPR rules, there will be flexibility to adapt to specific circumstances. This could be the case for security research, in order to restrict access to critical technologies; or in areas where an "open innovation" approach is more suitable for exploiting results and where broader access and cross-licensing is important.  

In addition to supporting the protection and exploitation of results, we will also focus on the wider dissemination of information on the results of publicly-funded research. By promoting the practice of “open access”, the academic and industrial research communities can gain free-of-charge access to scientific publications and reports. 

In 2008, the Commission launched the Open Access Pilot in the Seventh Framework Programme which covers around 20% of the FP7 budget and applies to seven research areas. This will be expanded in Horizon 2020. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

One of the key goals of Innovation Union – that will be supported by Horizon 2020 – will be to keep Europe as an attractive location for Research and Development, innovation and manufacturing. 

Successfully mastering and deploying Key Enabling Technologies in Europe is crucial to strengthening our innovation eco-system and productivity capacity. And I think Europe has its role to play here. As Moore's second law tells us, the cost of research, development and manufacturing of chips will double every four years – and this is also true to some extent for other key technology-based products. 

Industries and scientists across Member States and industrial sectors need to work together to innovate more effectively and to share the risks of new developments. 

Therefore, the European Commission will continue to promote research, development and innovation in advanced manufacturing systems, nanoelectronics, nanotechnology and materials, in order to help modernise our industrial base. 

This is vital. We must help maintain a strong and advanced manufacturing base in Europe, building on the work of highly-skilled people and the high-quality solutions and innovations provided by these underpinning technologies. 

We will ensure that Horizon 2020 is at the service of the most innovative companies operating in Europe. 

I am confident that Intel will get fully involved in Horizon 2020 both for the advantages it will bring your business, and because it will help you to contribute to our common goals of a competitive Europe: a Europe that focuses on new technologies, a Europe that prioritises growth and jobs. 

Thank you.

Last update: 18/10/2011  |Top