Bringing EU regions to the fore of innovation

EFFECT project’s second event explored how local ecosystems can support interdisciplinary, high-risk Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) research


Brussels, 25 October – over 30 participants including researchers, industry representatives and policy makers took part in a policy workshop designed to highlight the impact of the Future and Emerging Technologies on the European Society of tomorrow.


The main purpose of the event was to analyse how Europe’s next multi-financial framework can promote breakthrough ideas to prepare the ground for future value chains and market creation. Discussions focused on innovation potential arising from technologically focused high-risk research and the link to regional programmes and existing elements to support innovation.


The workshop, organised by the EFFECT project consortium, took place at the permanent representation of the Basque Country in Brussels with collaboration of the delegation of the Region of Navarre. Representative of the Basque Country Ms. María Bilbao de Azpiazu and representative of the Region of Navarre Mr. Mikel Irujo highlighted the latest innovation trends in these regions.


The first part of the workshop included European Commission representative Viorel Peca from DG Connect, who explained the primary objectives, ideas and concepts underpinning the FET innovation ecosystem. Marek Przeor from DG Regio then elaborated on regional smart specialisation, followed by presentations of some exemplary FET projects such as COPAC and Levitate.


Discussion taking place in one of the four thematic groups organised during the workshop.

During the second part of the workshop, participants were split into four thematic groups (1) Link with Regional Competitiveness; 2) Creating Innovation Ecosystems; 3) Supporting the Emergence Of Deep Tech Solutions; 4) Generating Value From High-Risk Research Results), each holding a diverse mix of representatives from universities, policy makers and industry, and exchanged experiences and opinions of innovation ecosystems at regional levels. They shared findings from FET projects’ activities that they took part in prior to the workshop, and brainstormed demand-driven policy measures to promote innovative ideas and high-risk research that would sit within the next multi financial framework programme.


Some of the main conclusions drawn from these sessions included the need for further cooperation and collaboration with regional groups, because they can play the role of facilitators through supporting spaces such as innovation hubs where academia and industry can meet and cooperate. Also highlighted was the need to find synergies between public and private funding, including crowdfunding, to share risks and raise necessary financial resources.  From the point of view of the regions, the potential of high-risk research results to promote regional competitiveness was strongly stated, hence clearer information concerning FET results is needed.


The outputs of the workshop have been included in the EFFECT project’s Recommendations to the European Commission and will be distributed to regions and other policy and decision makers. Indeed, the event followed up on the outcomes of the first EFFECT project event at the European Parliament held in March, highlighting the need of policy-makers at all levels to build a framework to help secure world-class research and innovation in the EU, taking into account the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on establishing the specific programme implementing Horizon Europe – the next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.


More information about the workshop, agenda and presentations is available in the FETFX website.


Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash