The conference ‘From Economic Recovery to Sustainability’, held in Valencia under the auspices of the Spanish Presidency of the European Commission, presented progress on three major public-private partnerships (PPP) set up to implement the Commission’s 2008 European Economic Recovery Plan. The event also saw the launch of a fourth PPP, ‘Future Internet’, addressing the ICT domain.
Almost 2 000 delegates from industry, academia and public administrations attended the two-day ‘R2S 2010’ conference and a series of associated events held in Valencia, Spain. The first day of the main programme was devoted to two of the established PPPs ‘Energy-efficient Buildings’ (EeB) and ‘Factories of the Future’ (FoF), respectively covering the construction and manufacturing sectors. On day two, attention turned to the automotive industry’s European Green Car Initiative (EGCI) and the emerging ‘Future Internet’ (FI). (Details of the latter are omitted from this selective report, because its areas of research are outside the remit of the Industrial Technologies Directorate. A webcast and downloadable presentations for the complete proceedings can be found on the EC website)
All four PPPs share the common goal of mobilising combined public and private resources to fund research initiatives and programmes stimulating a strong recovery of Europe’s hard-hit strategic industrial sectors following the global economic downturn of 2008-9. This response was initiated by the Commission’s European Economic Recovery Plan, endorsed by the European Council in December 2008, with a proposed overall fiscal stimulus of €200 billion, or 1.5% of GDP.
Although initially launched to meet an immediate need, the resultant research and innovation investments will help to secure the long-term future of an EU in which the economy has to become knowledge-based and low-carbon, as stated in the Lisbon principles and now reinforced in the Commission Communication ‘Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (PDF Version). The aim of the Plan is thus not only to bring the breakthrough results needed to propel the EU to the forefront of competitiveness, but also to target a transition to greener, more sustainable practices – as reflected in the theme of this event.
In order to achieve the necessary fast start-up, the Partnerships were created using the established rules and funding instruments of the Seventh RTD Framework Programme (FP7). In particular, they were aligned with an existing series of Joint Technology Initiatives (JTI).