Accomplishing the Single Market and leveraging the innovation potential of Europe will strongly contribute to economic and social growth over the next 5 years. Across all sectors, key elements of such developments will be ICT and data-centric technology. Through the ever more innovative products and services they provide and their related investments in research and innovation, DIGITALEUROPE members contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of the continent.
Horizon 2020 & beyond
The participation of the ICT industry in Horizon 2020 is bringing a number of important benefits to the economy and society as a whole as well as to our industry.
However, despite these benefits, current mechanisms are not fully achieving the objective of encouraging and leveraging European R&D and innovation at an industrial/commercial level. Moreover, boosting the EU’s performance in innovation is not only about EU funding.
Indeed, if one compares data both between EU Member States and between the EU and its major global competitors, many elements can be identified that hold back the EU’s innovation potential. Within the EU, the fragmentation of the European market and the large differences between Member States in terms of cost of capital, regulatory framework for and cost of starting a new business, to name just a few, all create regulatory uncertainty for investors and block economies of scale.
In a global comparison, EU’s competitors such as the US provide significantly more access to venture capital, spend more in terms of public procurement of innovation and their population is more eager to take risks and compete. The combined effect of these findings lead to a situation where today, a firm in other markets has good reasons to expect a much higher return on its R&D investments than a company in Europe.
Against this framework, a whole range of policies beyond Horizon 2020 need to converge in fostering the development of a specific European innovation ecosystem in order to fully reap the potential benefits of innovation on growth and jobs. The below recommendations are designed to help policy makers set the right framework in order to let innovation fully unfold its potential.