Research Ministers discuss future of research and innovation in Europe
The Informal Council Competitiveness met in its research formation on 2 February 2018 in Sofia in order to discuss investment in human capital and possibilities for stimulating innovation. Under the motto "The Future of Research and Innovation in Europe", European research ministers exchanged views on instruments, strategies and best practices in order to start the process of finding a common European vision during the coming months. This Informal Council was the first opportunity for Austrian Minister of Education, Science and Research to introduce himself to the research ministers. Against the background of Austria currently being the "incoming Presidency", Minister Faßmann also had several bilateral meetings, all of which focused on Austria's EU Council Presidency during the second half of 2018.
The research ministers discussed the Mid-term Evaluation of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, underlining that it is a landmark example of targeting scientific funding to important day tasks such as health, security, sustainable agriculture and bio-economy, clean and efficient energy, ecology and climate, and more. However, the assessment shows that the so-called "innovation gap" continues to be present and new measures are needed to increase the benefits of research funding and dissemination of results in all regions of the European Union. The Bulgarian Presidency stressed that cohesion policy and the next generation of structural funds, as well as their synergies with the Framework Programme and Erasmus+ in terms of capacity building and the opening of the potential of Europe's peripheral regions, should be priorities in the next multiannual financial period.
During the discussions, the Independent High-Level Group of Innovators presented their 14 recommendations on what the new European Innovation Council should do under the motto “Europe is back: Accelerating breakthrough innovation”. Ministers welcomed the recommendations and called for equal conditions for participation of all innovators.
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Photo: Handshake of Bulgarian Minister of Education and Science Krasimir Valchev and Austrian Minister of Education, Science and Research Heinz Fassmann (by BG Presidency)TOP