Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are a group of six technologies that have a wide range of product applications such as developing low carbon energy technologies, improving energy and resource efficiency, and creating new medical products. They have huge potential to fuel economic growth and provide jobs.
KETs comprise micro and nanoelectronics, nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, advanced materials, photonics, and advanced manufacturing technologies. The 2009 Communication on KETs describes these further.
They provide the basis for innovation in a wide range of industries such as automotive, food, chemicals, electronics, energy, pharmaceuticals, construction, and telecommunications. They can be used in emerging and traditional sectors.
They make steel stronger and more durable; they make cars lighter and safer; and they make a range of other products from medicines and biofuels to mobile devices, more effective and sustainable.
Further applications in other industries are expected to emerge.
Because of their potential to help industry grow, KETs are a priority for European industrial policy. The European Strategy for KETs aims to accelerate the rate of exploitation of KETs in the EU and to reverse the decline in manufacturing to stimulate growth and jobs.
The economic impact of KETs is considerable. The global market for KETs is estimated to be more than EUR 1 trillion by 2015.
Exports from EU countries account for 23% of world exports in KETs-based products.
KETs have huge potential for growth and employment. According the European Competitiveness Report 2013, depending on the KET, growth potentials of 10 – 20% per year can be expected over the coming years. For particular submarkets, the growth potential is even larger.
These sizeable markets sustain significant employment in the EU. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are expected to account for the majority of future jobs in KETs.
Countries and regions that fully exploit KETs will be at the forefront of advanced and sustainable economies. KETs deployment will contribute to achieving reindustrialisation, energy, and climate change targets simultaneously, making them compatible and reinforcing their impact on growth and job creation.