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Unleashing the forces of innovation - 06/10/2010

Figures of humans looking at digital images © EU

A new European strategy to speed up the development of new products and services, paving the way for more growth and jobs.

“Innovation Union”, a flagship initiative of Europe 2020, is designed to stimulate and speed up innovation in Europe, while removing bottlenecks that prevent good ideas from reaching the market.

The approach includes creating “innovation partnerships” between the public and private sectors to bring innovations to market faster. This should increase funding for research and development, better coordinate investment, and help keep regulation and standards up to date and in line with the needs of today's economy.

Priority areas where the commission wants to forge more public-private cooperation include climate change, energy efficiency, healthy living, smart cities and mobility, water efficiency, raw materials and sustainable agriculture.

The first partnership, to be launched in 2011, will strive to encourage the development of new products and services that can help active and healthy ageing.

Since research and development play such an important role in innovation, the policy also seeks to close the gap between Europe and the US and Japan by increasing investment in R&D to 3% of GDP.

According to a new study, achieving that target could create 3.7 million jobs and boost annual growth by up to €795bn. One million extra researchers will be needed.

Innovation Union also aims to foster easier access to funding and skilled workers, cut red tape and reduce the cost of patenting new ideas.

The proposed measures also include indicators to measure the share of fast-growing companies in the economy and rank universities. Proposals to increase the movement of venture capital investments across borders are also part of the package.

More on the Innovation Union

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