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Partnerships for better innovation support

European Commission Enterprise and Industry

Year 4 - Issue 13 - April 2009

The newsletter of the Europe INNOVA initiative

and so far unused potential “Alieshugedormant in the new EU States ”

Creating new opportunities through eco-innovation > Pages 4-5

Industry leaders from Europe’s hi-tech start-ups lecture at Stanford > Pages 6-7

Telling richer stories about European clusters > Page 8

Making an opportunity out of the recession > Page 9

Mirek Topolánek

Czech presidency establishes innovation policy as a priority The first major contribution of the Czech presidency to the European Year of Creativity and Innovation was the Conference for Research on Innovation, Research and Development (INCOM), held in Prague, in January 2009. The Czech EU presidency has called for a re-examination of EU innovation policies in order to close the innovation gap between the new and the older Member States. Speaking at the INCOM Conference, in Prague, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said “The most elementary condition is that Europe as a whole must learn to use its innovative potential.” He stressed the fact that “There are considerable differences among EU Member States, not just economic ones, but mainly in their innovative performance, efficiency of research and practical applications of scientific knowledge,” and added “if we want the entire continent to improve its global competitive ability, we must dramatically increase the innovative level of new members.”

The Central and Eastern European countries are all below the EU27 average in terms of innovation performance, and they remain at some distance from the European technological frontier. In addition, it is estimated that the time for them to catch up could vary between 10 and 20 years. “A promising way for the new Member States is to create clusters combining strong research capacities and companies applying their knowledge in practice. Only if and when these conditions are met, will my favourite quotation ‘Science turns money into knowledge, innovations turn knowledge into money’ hold true,” Mr Topolánek concluded.

Speech by Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek at INCOM, in January 2009 > News and documents > speeches-interviews > 3.3.2009 Speech by the Prime Minister


Prague proposes

a re-examination of EU innovation policy Whilst innovation policy became a reality for the EU during 2000, it has only been introduced into the new Member States since 2004, through the first round of Structural Funds support. But Structural Funds programming seems to be poorly connected with the specific needs of national and regional innovation systems with a resulting failure in the governance of innovation policy.

Some possible avenues for future action were identified by the experts who took part in the INCOM Conference and the Czech Presidency has suggested establishing the Prague Innovation Forum as a permanent Advisory Group to the European Commission.

The Czech EU Presidency has recently called for a re-examination of EU innovation policies in the hope of closing the innovation performance gap between the EU15 and the new Member States.

Another challenge was to attract innovation intensive inflows and coordinate these to support the formation of European value chains and their integration into the global market. Demand side innovation policies, such as public procurement, appeared to be crucial in the face of weak demand, especially in the new Member States, for research, development and innovation.

It is being argued that the newcomers should not follow ‘one size fits all’ measures for innovation, but rather should adopt new approaches to policy-making that can address their own challenges effectively. Thus, the Czech government has prepared, and is currently implementing, essential reforms in the fields of research, innovation and tertiary education. Most of the enterprises in the new Member States have been identified as ‘Non-Research and Development Innovators.’ The systems of these Member States have been weakened by the presence of a few large, foreign-owned firms focusing on the production of goods rather than on the production of new knowledge and there is also evidence of weak social capacities for innovation. Among the challenges to be tackled are the necessities of increasing the quantity and quality of human resources, of improving the exploitation of research and development results and of promoting innovation activity among enterprises.


A focus on education and training at all levels was seen to be a policy priority, not only in terms of quality but, particularly, in relation to the development of cognitive skills.

In terms of human capacities, it was suggested that policies should be oriented towards investment in strategic intelligence and that this would enable the newcomers, in particular, to formulate and implement innovation policies efficiently. Finally, a call was made for an evaluation of the use and design of the Structural Funds in order to improve innovation capacity that is centred on growth rather than on distribution and to align the operation of the Funds more closely to innovation needs in the respective countries. The diversity of EU27 should be seen as an advantage but accommodating such diversity will require a new wave of suitably tailored, policy-making approaches.

1st : Valencia

2nd : Milano

3rd : Budapest

4th Annual Partnering Event Call for expressions of interest

This year’s Annual Partnering Event will mark the start of the new Europe INNOVA projects and, as such, it will be the official launch of the second phase of the initiative. Europe INNOVA Communications is now looking for a committed city, region or organisation that would be willing to host this event in October 2009. The Annual Partnering Event is a two-day meeting which gathers around 200 participants from all over Europe. It combines a number of parallel and plenary sessions, as well as side events and cross-networking meetings. The event is a real hotspot for innovation practitioners, as it provides a unique opportunity to network, learn about the latest developments in innovation and exchange information with their peers. However, a key success factor is the involvement of a city, region or organisation that is committed to innovation and is

willing to host and sponsor the event. The host is expected to contribute financially by providing the venue, local transport and catering. Also, sponsorship should be sought for the conference programme and other marketing material. The host may also play a part in defining the overall programme by combining study visits, a fair, an exhibition or a social programme with the official agenda of the Annual Partnering Event. Thus, the host has an opportunity to showcase local innovation policies and practices in front of a large audience of innovation professionals. If you are interested in hosting the Annual Partnering Event 2009, the deadline for responding is 17 April 2009. Also, Europe INNOVA projects and networks wishing to take advantage of the Annual Partnering Event to hold consortia meetings may do so at their own cost – all requests will be coordinated by Europe INNOVA Communications.


4th : Annual Partnering Event

Specifications and Requirements for the Annual Partnering Event 2009 > Europe INNOVA Annual Partnering Event 2009 > Specifications and Requirements for the Annual Partnering Event 2009


For more information and expression of interest please contact: Agis Evrigenis on behalf of Europe INNOVA Communications Tel: +30 210 6777805

The Europe INNOVA conference in Lyon An inspiring source of innovative ideas The second Europe INNOVA Conference was a great success. It attracted more than 550 individuals from different areas of the innovation community and soon got them talking and working together, especially on the effects of the credit crunch and the topic of user innovation. The event was organised by the French Presidency of the European Union in close

collaboration with the European Commission and it was hosted by the City of Lyon on 22-24 October 2008. The outcomes of the first generation of Europe INNOVA activities were very evident at the conference and the nine parallel sessions that addressed the main conference themes proved an inspiring source of innovative ideas, featuring a total of 34 different presentations founded on hard-won practical experiences, many of which had been gained with support from the Europe INNOVA initiative.

Proceedings Report and Conference Video are now at the Europe INNOVA portal > Europe INNOVA Conference 2008



Creating new opportunities During this year’s European Union Sustainable Energy Week, over 100 participants attended the workshop on ‘New forms of support for eco-innovation’, held in Brussels, on 11 February. This Europe INNOVA workshop was hosted by DG Enterprise and Industry, as a contribution to the Sustainable Energy Week. During the workshop, participants were updated on progress in the fields of green public procurement and the activities of the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP). They were also introduced to the concept of the European Innovation Platforms, and notably the ideas behind the planned Eco-Innovation Platform.

Strategic collaboration Reinhard Büscher, Head of Unit, Support for Innovation at DG Enterprise and Industry, opened the workshop by stating that “The current challenges of economic slowdown can be addressed by means of greentech.” Whilst eco-innovation is of utmost importance to the sustainability of the environment, it also offers enormous potential for growth and job creation. As Reinhard indicated, “The Commission will support initiatives that push for eco-innovation in order to develop new markets, capable of making a difference. We are focusing on the development and testing of new support mechanisms at EU level while for the roll-out, we are trying to involve national and regional authorities and are expecting their contribution.


Eco-innovation means risk-sharing and building strategic alliances as real impact can only be built from the ground level.” ETAP stimulates the uptake of environmental technologies by mobilising financing and raising awareness about existing solutions. Igor Jelinski of DG Environment explained that “The renewable energy sector can provide two million new jobs in the EU, by 2020.” However, resources are needed and, for example, in the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme for the period 2007-2013, there are currently €433 million available to support ecoinnovation in SMEs. In addition, the High Growth and Innovative SME Facility instruments enable Community participation, through the European Investment Fund, in venture capital financing with €228 million earmarked for this purpose. Synergies will be developed between ETAP and the new Europe INNOVA Eco-Innovation Platform, the activities of which were presented by Orsola Mautone, DG Enterprise and Industry. An Eco-Innovation Observatory to be launched in mid-2009 under this platform has the potential to offer information and indicators for the promotion of eco-innovation, as well as market and technology intelligence that is not presently available. The knowledge that it will generate would also be exploited in the future work of ETAP. Alenka Burja, DG Environment, underlined the fact that the support of public authorities should not be overlooked. They are influential consumers and have a key role to play in saving money and natural resources by taking appropriate account of environmental factors in their public purchasing procedures.

through eco-innovation Vouchers for services innovation Eco-innovation is not only about developing new technologies. The Europe INNOVA KIS-PIMS project supports the development of knowledge intensive services in and around the renewable energy sector. It targets SMEs that want to offer new services and are seeking help in the process of transforming their ideas into reality. KIS-PIMS uses innovation vouchers to enable SMEs to buy in external expertise for risk assessment and consolidation of their business plans in order to make them ‘investor ready.’

The system is currently in place in France, Austria and Finland and SMEs can apply for vouchers through their respective innovation agencies. Funding varies across these countries but the French Innovation Agency OSEO, for instance, is committed to handing out by the end of 2009, at least 60 vouchers to renewable energy service companies with a face-value of a maximum of €15.000 each. After this promising start, KIS-PIMS is now looking for 10 new regions in Europe that would be interested in replicating the voucher scheme.

Some viewpoints

The programme and presentations from the workshop are available at: > Related Initiatives > Eco-Innovation > Great interest in Europe INNOVA workshop during EUSEW 2009 • Programme • Presentations


from workshop participants “We found this workshop interesting as we come from a region which has a high degree of environmental innovations and environmental enterprises. We believe that our region should be part of the innovation voucher scheme as well in the future.” Esther Davidsen, Head of Office and Vibe Engel, Senior Consultant, Zealand Denmark EU Office, Belgium

“We share the belief with the EC that green public procurement is a key driver of eco-innovation. We call on the EC to commit to reach 50% of green tendering procedure as from 2010. An easy step would be the adoption of electronic signatures which would lead to massive paper-saving by the administrations.” Vincent Tilman, Advisor European Affairs, EUROCHAMBRES, Belgium

“We are establishing a new innovation network which will focus on accelerating clean technology around Europe. Therefore I was interested in knowing which actions are currently being implemented at EU-level. In my opinion, people underestimate the power of innovation and how it can create the jobs and stimulus to get us out of the current financial crisis. Considering innovation vouchers for example, I would be very interested to know how this system could be incorporated with match funding from private investors.” Michael Mathres, Partner and Co-Founder, Climate Capital Network, France

National contacts/ KIS-PIMS In Austria Landes Energie Verein Steiermark, Christian Sakulin, Research Manager, In France OSEO, Elisabeth Walter,, Tel +33 1 41 79 82 20 In Finland Motiva Oy, Timo Määttä, Head of Unit, Renewable Energy,

Coordinator Technofi, Vincent Morfouace, Senior Project Manager,, Tel: +33 493 653 444



from Europe’s hi-tech start-up Contact for further information and pre-registration for the 18-20 June seminar: Sven Schade, Support for Innovation, DG Enterprise and Industry

A joint seminar with European Innovation agencies within the context of the European Commission’s PRO INNO Europe® initiative is planned for June at the Stanford University in Silicon Valley, California, in addition to the first Europe-US Angel Investor Group mini-Summit that will be held in the spring.

Building relationships

Lead by Dr. Burton Lee, Program Director, Stanford University launched, in January 2009, a six-month experimental programme entitled ‘European Entrepreneurship and Innovation Thought Leaders.’

Dr. Lee’s own experience in setting up the programme during 2008 highlighted some of Europe’s obstacles and needs. Out of the 22 national, regional government and municipal agencies that the university approached to become partners in this new programme, just four were willing to participate and these four are all from Scandinavian/Baltic Region countries.

In Dr. Lee’s own words, “No one at Stanford, and even more generally in Silicon Valley or much of the United States, has been examining in an organised fashion what European entrepreneurs, companies and universities are doing in the Valley and on the Continent.” The purpose of the weekly seminars, which can be followed via the web, is to host industry leaders from Europe’s hi-tech start-ups and venture finance, corporate and university research, and technology commercialisation communities so that they can share their insights and experiences with aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley. After each seminar, Stanford will invite the speakers and its European government partners to an invitation-only dinner when they will have the chance to meet Silicon Valley VIPs from venture capital firms and leading corporations.


European countries face substantial challenges in moving technical innovations, which have been pioneered in universities, national laboratories and corporations, more rapidly into the marketplace. Stanford’s Program Director has observed that many of these regions are increasingly looking to Silicon Valley to accelerate this process and to train a new generation of entrepreneurs.

“The Nordic government institutions present in Silicon Valley had a hands-on approach and moved very quickly. They understand deeply the culture and importance of Silicon Valley as a strategic location for their country’s entrepreneurial and innovation sectors. They also understand the central role of Stanford University in the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem. Our goal, nevertheless, is to cover all of Europe from Ireland to Russia and from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. We are hopeful that other European national, regional and municipal governments will partner with Stanford in the future. It is with this in mind that we’ve initiated conversations with the EU Commission and a variety of panEuropean organisations,” noted Dr. Lee.

Creating value in Europe According to the Commission, contacts to Silicon Valley must not result in an accelerated relocation of start-ups with high growth potential. A joint seminar with


ps to lecture at Stanford .

Special Events

European Innovation agencies is being planned for 18-20 June to explore how to make best use of the Silicon Valley ecosystem for innovation support in Europe. This seminar is being organised in the context of the European Commission’s PRO INNO Europe® initiative. “The Commission has been looking at the existing programmes of Member States and regions to support entrepreneurs in their internationalisation efforts and to link their ex-pat entrepreneur communities to activities back home,” Dr. Sven Schade of DG Enterprise and Industry explains. “Surprisingly enough, whereas India has a distinct policy to use their diaspora community as a vehicle for technology transfer and investment, few European countries have such policies and instruments.” “In fact European countries each act in a different manner towards their entrepreneurs. Whereas a German region may be interested in attracting scientists back it does not have much interest in attracting entrepreneurs. The Danes and the Finns on the other hand, focus particular support towards software companies and actually encourage them to establish their first companies in Silicon Valley. So if an entrepreneur comes up with an idea for an IT business, they will be encouraged to go to Silicon Valley, and receive support to do so, even if they remain there. We found this quite an interesting topic because it is slightly controversial. European countries are subsidising brain drain. What do we expect to get back by encouraging entrepreneurs to go to Silicon Valley? What is the logic behind it? There is one, but it’s quite interesting to explore this. This is our starting point - to explore how we can better integrate our European ex-pat entrepreneurs to European innovation systems,” said Dr. Schade, adding

“The purpose of the seminar is to cooperate with Stanford building on their programme and engaging with the European communities to explore and discuss with European entrepreneurs their possible contributions to innovation in Europe. Future policy actions shall be based on these findings.” According to Professor Lee, other plans for future studies at Stanford include: bringing European angel investor groups to Silicon Valley to explore co-investments with US angel groups; working with start-up companies that are trying to go to Europe or come from Europe; and assisting European university and public research laboratory technology transfer and commercialisation offices in understanding the Silicon Valley and US business and legal environments. Stanford is also planning to host the first Europe-US Angel Investor Group mini-Summit this coming spring. “No one has done that before… we’re thinking about a similar mini summit focused on US-Europe Venture Capital. There are a number of different communities here in the Valley - angel investors, venture capital, corporate and university technology transfer - where talking about the differences and similarities between the US and Europe and how we can learn from one another, could benefit both sides,” explained Dr. Burton Lee, adding slightly tongue in cheek, “We believe that the Europeans have more to learn from us at this point than the other way around. On a more serious note, there obviously has to be some two-way give and take and we look forward to it.” European Entrepreneurs Seminars at Stanford website:

The European Entrepreneurship and Innovation Thought Leaders Seminar (EEITL) announces the following upcoming events of interest, to be held in conjunction with - or following - regularly scheduled weekly lectures. > May 18: European - US Angel Groups Mini-Summit at Stanford. Details to be announced. > June: Workshop on Europeans in Silicon Valley at Stanford. Details to be announced.

News and Announcements The Stanford School of Engineering lists news and event announcements of broader interest to the European entrepreneurship and innovation community, whether they take place here in Silicon Valley or in Europe. > April 22 - 24: Technology Innovation International (TII) 2009 Annual Conference “Regional Excellence in Innovation: Case Studies from Around the World”, Thessaloniki (Greece). TII is “Europe’s premier independent association of technology transfer and innovation support professionals”. > Weekly: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar at Stanford (Fall, Winter and Spring Quarters). > October: Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford conference at Said Business School, Oxford University, UK.



Telling richer stories about

European clusters

DG Enterprise & Industry organised an expert workshop on ‘Better Cluster Metrics’ in Barcelona, on 29-30 January 2009. Some 25 experts from the fields of cluster mapping and statistical analysis met for a first stock-taking of the challenges in cluster mapping and of paths to possible solutions. The aim was to narrow the gap between the general perceptions of economically and politically important clusters and what can actually be measured statistically. The European Cluster Observatory has laid down the firm foundations for European cluster metrics, delivered promising results and triggered important discussions, but the story does not end there, as the Observatory’s approach must be enriched and further developed. The objective of the workshop hosted by Generalitat de Catalunya was to engage experts in a discussion about how to define cluster categories so that they would fit better with the needs of new clustering trends. The workshop’s results provided significant input for the European Cluster Observatory and also paved the way for improving the relationship between cluster mapping exercises and other initiatives such as the European Innovation Scoreboard, ERAWATCH and studies on regional specialisation patterns. The workshop results will also be considered by the new European Cluster Policy Group that will be launched in spring 2009. The workshop stimulated a lively discussion and was a success in terms of identifying the challenges, determining potential solutions and achieving a common understanding. In particular, it confirmed that a common and harmonised methodology should be


maintained in the statistical measurement of clusters, as this would enable a more detailed economic analysis of clusters. A concern expressed was related to how the European Cluster Observatory could take better account of cluster dynamics and assess the vitality and dynamics of clusters by looking at cluster evolution and cluster changes. In addition, the significance of global benchmarking was emphasised, as it is becoming increasingly important that clusters can make an accurate comparison of their performances against those of their international peers. The statistical measurement of new emerging sectors, as in the fields of eco-innovation, biotechnology or creative industries, is a challenge for the European Cluster Observatory. It often seems difficult to use the NACE classification, nevertheless, NACE should be used as a starting point and be complemented with other methodologies for the blurred areas where NACE does not fit. To monitor eco- or biotechnology clusters, it was suggested to look at patent applications and other innovation indicators as well. “Clusters should not be built on mere hope but on convincing evidence that there is strength in the particular area within a region, which can be cultivated and fostered by cluster policies,” concluded Reinhard Büscher, Head of Unit, Support for Innovation, at DG Enterprise and Industry. In addition to its detailed cluster analyses, the European Cluster Observatory is able to provide the right graphs to policy makers that can trigger relevant debate and discussion. In both these respects, it has become a service to Member States, which promotes evidence-based policy making and mutual learning.

Making an opportunity

out of the recession

The EIX ( is an initiative created by the ACHIEVE MORE KIS-IP project that provides a forum for innovators and business incubator and cluster managers in the ICT sector.

How does the recession affect the entrepreneurial climate? Is it all negative or do new opportunities arise when the traditional business and financing structures are shaken? These issues were discussed at the Europe INNOVA Conference in Lyon, on 23-24 October 2008 and at the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Exchange (EIX) launch meeting in Bristol, on 21 November 2008. The EIX meeting considered the current credit crunch and its potential impact on the financing of innovation and even on the desire of potential entrepreneurs to launch new businesses. The views of some of the experts are reported below.

An opportunity for small companies: “My real life experience as an entrepreneur is that there is still money available for good projects and products. I think this is a great opportunity for small companies that can use a reasonable amount of money wisely. I think we should spread the risk and distribute a certain amount of funds to SMEs and give them a chance to show that they are capable of using money in a responsible and productive manner.” Karin Bryskhe, CEO, Colloidal Resource, Sweden

Government procurement is the key: “I think there are a couple of important areas where governments could act, but the single most important thing is in procurement. Government procurement is the key for SMEs. It is because it teaches people how to deliver on valuable contracts rather than how to apply for grants. It is the trade not aid syndrome.” Ernie Richardson, Managing Partner, MTI Partners Ltd, UK

Refocusing and better prioritisation: “The financial crisis will most likely have a negative effect on innovation as it may cause a slowdown in long-term investments due to the insufficiency of resources. The increased competition will reduce profits and the de-leveraging of banks will lessen external funding but for public strategies, this may also have a positive impact. Currently the public resources for innovation are widely scattered, sometimes on inefficient uses. Possibly the reduction in public spending will mean a refocusing and hopefully better prioritisation of the most useful policies.” Jean-Claude Prager, Director, French Public Agency for Technological Intelligence (ADIT), France

Focus on the absolute core of your business: “If you are an entrepreneur who has already been funded, the key is to focus on the absolute core of your business, making sure your product is ready to go to market and identifying those people who are going to be your main customers. Don’t take on any unnecessary expense.” David Gill, Managing Director, St. John’s Innovation Centre, UK



services innovation In KIS-IP, there are three sectoral partnerships addressing the specific needs of innovative services companies: ICT services (ACHIEVE MORE); renewable energy (KIS-PIMS); and satellite based applications (KIS4SAT). For more information please contact: Alessandro Fazio, KISPLATFORM Co-ordinator Europe Unlimited Brussels, Belgium Tel: +32 (0) 2 644 65 80

KIS Contest Awards: Most Successful Company: 1. NTS Energy & Transports 2. Logo Tech Engineering Group 3. Zemanta Most Innovative Company: 1. Logo Tech Engineering Group 2. Special Chem 3. Risaris


The services sector already accounts for two thirds of employment and GDP in the European economy. As the nature of services differs from traditional manufacturing, so do the innovation processes required within these companies. The Europe INNOVA Knowledge Intensive Services Innovation Platform (KIS-IP) organised a Partnering Forum, on 19 February 2009, in Brussels. It attracted 150 international participants to discuss services company growth and how the sector can better source finance and government support. In terms of government support, traditional financial criteria do not necessarily suit services companies, as R&D expenses, for example, are measured in a different manner. The importance of understanding the nature of services production and applying the right metrics when designing public funding programmes was highlighted. Reinhard Büscher, Head of Unit, Support for Innovation at DG Enterprise and Industry, stressed the need for Europe to strive for better follow-up and sustainability in its business support initiatives. “We have to adopt a more strategic approach where we can take structured steps from research to founding enterprises and then supporting the potential winners to penetrate or stay in the market, so we must follow up actions more thoroughly. We need to be able to bring innovative ideas across the finish line to create champions,” he said. The discussions also noted that support should reach further back into the education system, which has not yet met the needs of a knowledge-intensive services economy. In other words, young people are not sufficiently educated in non-technological innovation.

“In the future, one has to combine technology and services innovation in order to succeed,” explained Metka Stare, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Entrepreneurial spirit and a mindset open to new ideas are at the core of any innovating company. Also, Professor Colin Turner, in his keynote speech, highlighted the fact that companies must clearly define their business models and understand the role of customers in the services process. Venture capital experts concurred and suggested that, as services firms do not have a physical product to demonstrate, when they are attempting to attract funding, they should concentrate on describing future sources of revenue and the added value they can provide. One success factor in modern knowledgeintensive services companies is a close link between their products and/or processes of development and their clients, as the clients are often the most important drivers of innovation. This aspect was well featured during the day in the 32 SME presentations. Based on these presentations, the most successful and most innovative companies were selected to receive the KIS Contest Awards.

The EU

progressing steadily

in the field of innovation Human resources 0.600

Economic effects

0.400 0.200

Finance & support


Firm investments


EU Drivers of growth

2004 2008


Linkages & entrepreneurship

Picture from EIS, page 17

More information and link to the report: > Policy Analysis > INNOMetrics > European Innovation Scoreboard 2008


The eighth edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), released in January 2009, provides a comparative assessment of the innovation performance of EU Member States. It shows that the EU is improving its performance and closing the innovation gaps with the US and Japan. The 2008 European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), shows the European Union is improving its performance compared to 2004, especially in human resources, finance and support, and throughputs. In the EIS 2008, there is a strong focus on services, non-technological aspects and outputs of innovation. The analysis of trends is now based on changes in the absolute values of the indicators over a five year period, rather than the previous approach of measuring trends relative to the EU average. Within the individual indicators, the EU is showing relative strengths in education, public R&D expenditures, IT expenditures, knowledge intensive services employment and exports, medium-high and high-tech manufacturing exports, and sales of new-to-market products.

Europe is also decreasing the innovation gaps with the US and Japan but the gap between Europe and the US is still relatively wide. In 2008, the US was performing 28% better than the EU in terms of innovation. However, the EU is catching up because of increases in graduate numbers in areas such as science and engineering, the availability of internet broadband and venture capital, and also relatively strong improvements in public-private linkages. The analysis of the Scoreboard shows that countries with a good education system and a creative climate tend to have higher levels of R&D and design activities and also stronger overall innovation performance. In the future, all sorts of innovation methods will be needed to survive in turbulent economies, to face the challenges of globalisation and to tackle climate change. Now is not the moment to be complacent about research investments and innovation, it is the time to push Europe’s innovation performance to an even higher level.


Public consultation on effectiveness of innovation support DG Enterprise and Industry has launched a public consultation on the effectiveness of innovation support. The main purpose of this consultation is to get insights on how to best improve the effectiveness of public innovation support mechanisms in the EU, against the background of constantly evolving innovation patterns in enterprises.

Partnerships for better innovation support Europe INNOVA is an initiative of the European Commission’s Directorate General Enterprise and Industry which aspires to become the laboratory for the development and testing of new tools and instruments in support of innovation with the view to help innovative enterprises innovate faster and better. It brings together public and private innovation support providers such as innovation agencies, technology transfer offices, business incubators, financing intermediaries, cluster organisations and others. The newsletter of the Europe INNOVA initiative © European Commission - Reproduction is authorised, provided the source is acknowledged. To subscribe: Editorial contact: Published by: Sparks and all other elements of the Europe INNOVA communications programme are performed by a consortium of companies headed by Logotech SA (Greece). Legal notice: Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the way in which information contained in this publication may be used. This newsletter is financed under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). which aims to encourage the competitiveness of European enterprises

The consultation consists of two online questionnaires: One for companies to provide their views on the direction of future innovation support policies and instruments in the EU, and another for institutional stakeholders active in the design, funding, implementation, and evaluation of innovation support measures at regional, national and European level to give their opinion on the key issues for better innovation support in Europe. The consultation is open until midday, 4 May 2009.

More information on the consultation and links to the online questionnaires is available here. > EU policies > Enterprise > Industry sectors > Public consultations > Effectiveness of Innovation Support in Europe



Six debates on creativity and innovation As part of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009, six public events will be organised in Brussels to spark discussion and an exchange of ideas on various topics related to boosting creativity and innovation in Europe. The first debate on ‘Boosting Europe’s knowledge economy’ took place in February and the remaining themes and dates are outlined below. > 30 March: Education for creativity and innovation > 13 May: Creativity and innovation in the public sector > 10 June: Creativity and innovation and sustainable development

> 14 October: Cultural diversity as a basis for creativity and innovation > 17 November: Creative arts and industries

Further information on the debates and other events organised around the European Year can be found at:


Join the first European SME Week

http:// Further information on the SME

The first European SME Week, from 6 to 14 Week including these and other May 2009, will be a campaign to promote related events can be found at: entrepreneurship across Europe and to inform entrepreneurs about the support enterprise/policies/ that is available to them at European, entrepreneurship/sme-week/ national and local levels. The week will promote the wide range of index_en.htm information, advice, support and ideas that exists to help SMEs to develop their activities. As part of this thematic week, a workshop on ‘Research and Innovation for SMEs Hands-on guide to funding’ will be organised on 7 and 8 May 2009, at the Research Connection Conference, in Prague.


Two Europe INNOVA Thematic Workshops on Standards and Satellite down-stream applications The first workshop “Standards for innovation – From lessons to actions” will take place in Brussels on June 3, 2009. It will address Standards Organisations to discuss how to implement actions in the field of market validation of standards, raise awareness among innovative SMEs about open standards and discuss the improved use of standards in their innovation processes. The second Thematic workshop entitled “A strategy in support of the incubation / acceleration of applications lead market in the field of space technology” will take place in Brussels on June 11-12, 2009. The workshop will be dedicated to an overview on the European Commission’s and European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Supervisory Authority’s strategy for supporting and preparing satellite technology based applications, incubation and financing instruments useful for the satellite technology based applications market. The main aim of both events is the development of an action plan for further steps to be taken by the European Commission. For more information, please contact Alex Talacchi (

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European Commission Enterprise and Industry

Sparks n°13  
Sparks n°13  

The rst major contribution of the Czech presidency to the European Year of Creativity and Innovation was the Conference for Research on Inno...