Navigation path

Key initiatives


The Innovation Union contains over thirty action points including ground-breaking initiatives like the European Innovation Partnerships. For example, the Partnership on active and healthy ageing aims to add an average of two years of healthy life for everyone in Europe

The Innovation Union also introduces the strategic use of public procurement budgets to finance innovation, a comprehensive Innovation Scoreboard based on 25 indicators and a European knowledge market for patents and licensing.

It includes measures to reinforce successful existing initiatives like the Risk Sharing Finance Facility, which has so far leveraged 15 times the combined Commission and European Investment Bank contribution of over a billion euro.

Click on the image titles below for summaries of the issues addressed in the Innovation Union Plan.


Strengthening Europe's knowledge base

Research and education nurture innovation. Europe would require at least one million more researchers in the next decade to reach the target of investing 3% of EU GDP in R&D by 2020.

The Innovation Union proposes measures to complete the European Research Area by 2014. This means more coherence between European and national research policies, cutting red tape and removing obstacles to researchers' mobility.

In education, the Commission will support business-academia collaborations to develop new curricula addressing innovation skills gaps. It will also support an independent ranking for universities.

Getting good ideas to market

The Innovation Union is creating a genuine single European market for innovation which will attract innovative companies and businesses. To achieve this, several measures are being taken in the fields of patent protection, standardisation, public procurement and smart regulation.

The Innovation Union also aims to stimulate private sector investment and proposes among other things to increase European venture capital investments which are currently a quarter of the level of in the US.

Maximising regional and social benefits

To avoid an "innovation divide" between the strongest innovating regions and the others, the Commission is assisting national and regional authorities across Europe in drawing up research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation, so that the EU's Structural Funds can be used more efficiently and synergies between different EU, national and regional policies, as well as public and private investments, can be increased

The Innovation Union aims to involve everyone in innovation. This is particularly true in terms of ensuring employees themselves can influence the way businesses and public authorities innovate and also when it comes to social innovation. The Commission has launched a major research programme on public sector and social innovation and a pilot European Public Sector Innovation Scoreboard.

Pooling efforts for breakthroughs

European Innovation Partnerships are a new way of bringing together public and private actors at EU, national and regional levels to tackle the big challenges we face such as climate change, energy and food security, health and an ageing population. These challenges also represent opportunities for new business and the Partnerships aim to give the EU a first-mover advantage in these markets.

Collaborating internationally

Europe needs to work better with its international partners. That means that Europe should continue to be open for access to its R&D programmes, while ensuring comparable conditions abroad. That also means the European Union and its Member States should treat scientific cooperation with third countries as an issue of common concern and develop common approaches to protect our interests.