The seminar, which was opened by Edwin Poots MLA, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, focused on the European Innovation Partnership, a new approach to EU research and innovation, which brings together key stakeholders in a forum to explore how innovation can be translated into real market opportunities. The theme of the seminar was 'Active and Healthy Ageing', which the European Commission has identified as an area which presents considerable potential for Europe to lead the world in providing innovative responses to this challenge. The EU and the US have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on E-Health recognising the importance of shared best practices and collaborative innovation in healthcare.
Colette FitzGerald, Head of the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland, said: "Northern Ireland has an excellent opportunity to participate in the EU’s new Horizon 2020 Research programme worth some €80 billion over the next seven years. The ongoing collaboration between the EU and the US in the field of E-Health offers exciting possibilities for Northern Ireland companies to develop international partnerships leading to more growth and jobs."
The U.S. delegation was in Northern Ireland as part of a new public-private initiative by the Department of State called Partnership Opportunity Delegations (PODs). The Northern Ireland 'POD' is focusing on creating potential cross-sectoral partnership opportunities that aim to boost Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, promote entrepreneurship, and increase overall economic growth.