Currently, EU investment in ICT research is still less than half US levels. Research and innovation
Europe must invest more in R&D and ensure our best ideas reach the market.
Europe continues to under-invest in ICT related research and development. Compared to major trading partners such as the US, R&D in ICT in Europe is not only a much smaller proportion of total R&D spend (17% compared to 29%, but in absolute terms represents around 40% of US expenditure.
Given that ICT represents a significant share of total value-added in European industrial strengths such as automobile (25%), consumer appliances (41%) or health and medical (33%), the lack of investment in ICT R&D is a threat to the entire European manufacturing and service sectors.
The investment gap is related to three main problems:
Step up efforts and efficiency
- Weak and dispersed public R&D effort; e.g. the EU public sector spends less than 5.5 B € per year on ICT R&D, far below the levels of competing economies.
- Market fragmentation and dispersion of financing means for innovators, are limiting factors for the growth and development of ICT innovative businesses and notably SMEs.
- Europe is slow in the uptake of ICT-based innovations, notably in areas of public interest. While societal challenges are major drivers of innovation, Europe makes little use of procurement of innovation and R&D to improve quality and performance of its public services.
The Commission will present in 2010 a comprehensive research and innovation strategy which is the "Innovation Union" flagship to implement Europe 2020 . Building on the European strategy for leadership in ICT , Europe must step up, focus and pool its investments to keep its competitive edge in this field and continue to invest in high-risk research, including multi-disciplinary fundamental research.
Europe should also build its innovative advantage in key areas through reinforced eInfrastructures and through the targeted development of innovation clusters in key fields. It should develop an EU-wide strategy on "cloud computing" notably for government and science . Driving ICT innovation by exploiting the single market
Europe’s public sector expenditure should be used to spur innovation while raising the efficiency and quality of public services. European public authorities must join forces to align regulation, certification, procurement and standardisation in favour of innovation. Public and private partnerships and stakeholder fora are needed that lay out joint technology roadmaps, from research to commercialisation, for harnessing innovation to social need. Knowledge transfer activities should be managed effectively and supported by suitable financial instruments and publicly funded research should be widely disseminated through Open Access publication of scientific data and papers. Industry-led initiatives for open innovation
ICT drives value creation and growth across the economy. This means that industry is increasingly in need of open and interoperable solutions to exploit ICT across all sectors. Industry-led initiatives aiming at standards and open platforms for new products and services will be supported in EU-funded programmes. The Commission will reinforce the activities bringing together stakeholders around common research agendas in areas such as the Future Internet including the Internet of Things and in key enabling technologies in ICT.