Cathy Smith presented to the audience the unique structure of this session. Dainius Pavalkis, the Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science, stressed that universities and businesses have to cooperate each other to achieve great success and business have to invest more to universities innovation.
Robert Madelin, the Director-General at DG CNECT of the European commission, talked about achievements of the last framework programme. He pointed out that research is now more connected to innovation than ever before. We need to think beyond the three pillars (excellent science, societal challenges and industrial leadership) in order to improve the research results by building connections between scientists and people. Research innovation has to be done responsibly and we need innovators and universities to be close to the market. The Horizon 2020 programme will support researchers by funding more experiments to create new tools. He suggested that companies should start listening to web entrepreneurs and people to learn how they could innovate and differentiate their products.
The third speaker, Peter Olson, pointed out that it is necessary to create hubs and ecosystems between small companies and big corporations to allow them grow and innovate faster. The Digital Agenda representative pointed out the most important challenges: economical (resources, jobs, growth) and social (education). How to respond to the challenges of Horizon2020 in a competitive market place is the question that companies and universities have to answer. Digital technologies are useful and linked to the economic growth. We need to speed up deployment of technologies, to fix broadband, to invest in cloud computing, in research and in innovation. We need to focus on innovation more than anything else.
The last speaker, Burton Lee, supported the idea that small companies, big corporation and universities need to stimulate new demand for innovative products and services. He gave a lot of examples from his times in Silicon Valley where Stanford students had to create a product and to confront themselves with at least 100 potential users. Teaching innovation to enterprises and centres is the next main objective. Innovators have to find out what a product should be and could become.