The recent published report “A Robust Innovation Ecosystem for the Future of Europe” by the European Commission includes a number of recommendations proposed by Eurocities secretariat and WG Innovation.
The report is ais the result of the consultation process launched by the Commission with representatives of innovation ecosystem stakeholders – startups, investors, corporates, universities and Research & Technology Organisations (RTOs), regions and cities, national innovation agencies and ministries, with the aim of collecting information to build the future of the innovation ecosystem in Horizon Europe.
Eurocities secretariat and WG Innovation collected feedback from members, during EDF and WG meetings EDF in Florence and Valladolid, and presented the main local challenges and recommendations during consultations workshop, the high-level conference and in the technical paper focus on innovative local ecosystem.
As above mentioned, the European Commission took our recommendations and included them in the report:
- need to work on innovative solutions that are sustainable for cities and their citizens
- need for better data and time to deploy innovation projects that require full cycle deployments.;
- need to collect data for districts so to be used to further advance cities’ innovative projects.
In the report the EC illustrated the state of play of innovation ecosystems, landscape challenges and recommendations related to issues of connectedness, competence and talent, and access to and deployment of capital. Cutting across all three issues are the inclusion and diversity challenges inherent to a rich and multicultural region like Europe.
The feedback resulted from the consultation process must help build the future of the innovation ecosystem in Horizon Europe: the outcomes emphasises the need to work together, among start-ups, entrepreneurs, academic bodies and educational institutions, regions and cities, innovation agencies and national authorities, to expand collaboration through increased data analysis and qualitative information sharing. In this way, Europe shall become a global leader in many disruptive fields through providing better citizen engagement, increasing openness to investment risk and reducing regulatory burden.
To unlock the innovation potential from Europe's incredible research capacity, the relationship between corporations and startups with universities and Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) must be improved through better and more frequent networking and novel trainings. Innovation must flow beyond the main city hub, and abroad, so it can reach everyone in Europe, improving their livelihoods.
All stakeholders agree that entrepreneurship and understanding of how the innovation ecosystem operates must permeate all actors, from students to faculty, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and civil servants with more and better information on all innovation processes.
The challenge involves a need for more capital, an improvement of cross-border investment and a de-risking of the investment in disruptive companies (e.g. in deep tech). It's essential to continue investing in early stage companies and to support and enable trial and error and the scaling-up of innovative pilots from the public sector.
Beyond these three challenges, stakeholders brought up the urgency to reduce the current regulatory burden. There is a need for simplified legislation, experimentation and flexibility of existing legislation through the use of regulatory sandboxes, and new ways of developing innovative public procurement.
The report should inform the future Horizon Europe schemes to support local innovation ecosystems and we will continue working to ensure these points are reflected in future funding opportunities.