In the framework of the European Forum of Science and Industry, the JRC has co-organised today a roundtable with the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry on the scientific support to Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The global market in KETs, which comprises micro/nano electronics, nanotechnology, photonics, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, advanced manufacturing technologies, is forecast to grow from € 646 Billion (2008) to over € 1 Trillion in 2015; this is a jump of over 54%, or more than 8% of the EU's GDP.
The objective of this initiative, attended by around 100 participants from academia, business, innovation intermediaries and policy-makers, was to identify how KETs can contribute to the competitiveness of three specific sectors: health, energy and industrial equipment.
In his concluding remarks, JRC Director-General Dominique Ristori summarised the discussions of the day by saying that there is clear need for more and better scientific support to KETs in Europe. Mr Ristori recalled that the potential of the European internal market is not fully exploited. He emphasised that it will be crucial to ensure the link between KETs and key priorities in health, energy, chemicals, aeronautics, and machine production. A more efficient cooperation between private and public sector with strong involvement from universities is necessary. Smart specialisation can play a key role in this respect as well as science parks. It is necessary to reinforce the link between science and industry on European, national and regional level and by involving all key stakeholders. Mr Ristori pledged the support of the JRC to this cause and to the work of the KETs high-level group, in cooperation with the other Directorates General of the European Commission.
In the framework of this initiative, the JRC Director-General and representatives from the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) signed a letter of intent, aiming to strengthen the cooperation between the two entities. The JRC recognises the role of science parks in supporting innovation and SMEs and has therefore developed the "JRC Science Parks initiative", which aims at fostering connectivity between science and business, facilitating specialisation and prioritisation and supporting science parks in their important role of intermediaries in the innovation chain.