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Opinion Articles | 22-02-2023 in Diário de Notícias

“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas,” the double Nobel prize winning scientist Linus Pauling once said.

Thankfully this is something Europe has always being good at: generating great ideas. They have shaped our amazing continent and transformed the wider world. And now, as we seek solutions to some of the biggest challenges this planet has ever faced, Europe is once again ready to lead, with our ideas, our vision, and our commitment to delivering the first climate neutral continent.

So, I am obviously delighted and truly inspired by the number of game changing, actionable ideas being added daily to the European Innovation Area portal, created by our Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) Forum in the European Parliament to provide a home for transformative and sustainable ideas - some of which you can read about in this magazine.

As Chair of the Forum, it gives me a huge amount of pride to see groundbreaking initiatives like this, brought to the fore by an organisation that has been at the forefront of Europe’s innovation landscape since 2008.

The influence of the K4I Forum is something Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, recognised in her speech at the Forum’s inaugural European Innovation Area Summit last summer, when she said: “The Knowledge4Innovation platform has served the objective of providing the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the stakeholders group with the forum for discussing innovation. ”These words, warmly welcomed by everyone involved with the K4I Forum, were delivered at what was an historic moment for the EU, when the Commission was unveiling its New European Innovation Agenda.

The Agenda, a dynamic action plan designed to realise the continent’s twin digital and green transitions, has got the potential to be the engine room of the European Green Deal.

It sets out how it will make it easier for startups to access funding, has a target to train one million deep tech pioneers - to help turn Europe into the deep tech capital of the world – and is prioritising support for women innovators.

A great contribution to this agenda, I am proud to say, comes from the European Innovation Area (EIA) Manifesto, which I had the pleasure of helping develop with the Forum, other K4I Forum political members, EIT KICs, European Partnerships, universities, and innovation support organisations. Commissioner Gabriel acknowledged this at the time of the Agenda’s launch, when she said the EIA Manifesto and its eight Focus areas “had a major impact on the creation of this new European Innovation Agenda - and all eight are covered by the new Agenda”.

One of the Manifesto Focus Areas the Agenda is taking forward is the deep tech opportunity, and I have been extremely excited by what leaders in this field have been sharing through the Forum’s new online portal of open access ideas.

Likewise, women innovators and female-led startups - another of the EIA Manifesto focus areas,and integral to the Agenda, are providing some of the most important solutions. This is a space that is very close to Commissioner Gabriel’s heart, who says women innovators are “responsible for some of the most groundbreaking innovations contributing to a more sustainable future”.

The Commissioner has made it very clear that she is on a mission to give women innovators more of the tools they need to succeed, so they can “close the gender gap” which sees “three quarters [of startups] still founded by men” – an outcome she says will be “good for growth and good for our planet” – and she’s right.

Again, the Forum’s new online ideas resource should be a source of inspiration - not just for the Commissioner, but for women across the continent, as it shows them spearheading a new era for innovation in Europe.

I would like to add that the Forum has long advocated for the establishment of a European Innovation Area that can better coordinate all these ambitions. This approach is working well now, as we see from the successes enjoyed by the European Research Area, and the European Education Area: two streamlined ecosystems generating real impact. We firmly believe a pan-European innovation ecosystem can do the same for innovation. Because as you can see, we have lots of good ideas that we must jointly implement now.

Read the complete Magazine here.

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