Showcasing the most exciting areas in research and innovation in Europe is the premise behind the 'Destination Europe' events, which take place several times a year. The events help researchers from around the world discover the opportunities available for working in Europe, why Europe is an ideal place for career development and the funding opportunities for scientists. Likewise, they provide a unique insight into what European countries are doing with regards to innovation transfer.
France was one of the countries appealing to scientists at the Destination Europe event, where a range of programmes was presented for opportunities in innovation and technology transfer. French research labs work with small and large companies, and operate in national, European and international networks. They have also implemented a National Investment Plan, which aims to increase the efficiency and visibility of the technology transfer system in France. Some of the French programmes presented included the Industrial PhD Programme (CIFRE), which encourages translational research and boosts exchanges between laboratories and companies. There was also a presentation of an international hub for micro and nanotechnology research, the GIANT innovation campus in Grenoble and the Carnot Institutes, which foster research cooperation between public institutions and companies.
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden focused their presentation on the uniqueness of the northern research environments. Although they are five relatively small countries, they have highly competitive economies and can offer many opportunities in research, innovation and higher education. Nordic highlights included 'flexsecurity' of the modern welfare state, the clean environment, equality, secure societies and the healthy way of living in Nordic countries.
Portugal was another country to show promise for scientists with its reputation as a land of explorers and innovators – particularly in biomedical research, information and communications technology (ICT), energy and space-related technology. Increasingly, research and development centres in Portugal are attracting ever more international scientists to join a thriving and forward-thinking scientific and technological system. Speakers from Portugal illustrated some of the advances and opportunities in research areas such as biotechnology, the future Internet and deep-sea research.
The event also revealed that Ireland is now ranked 3rd in the world in immunology research, 8th in materials research and 11th in computer science – demonstrating why so many fast-growth companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Zynga have chosen Ireland as a location to expand and internationalise their businesses. The Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) provided a practical overview on why Ireland is a world-class research and business destination, and gave an overview of its funding schemes to support academic scientists and engineers working in the fields of science and engineering that underpin biotechnology, ICT, and sustainable energy and energy-efficient technologies.