Corporate R&D investment for the support of EU’s long-term competitiveness in a context of green and digital transition

22 May 2024

On 22 May 2024, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) organised the workshop ‘Corporate R&D investment for the support of EU’s long-term competitiveness in a context of green and digital transition’. The workshop took place at the University Foundation in Brussels, by invitation only. It gathered 72 in-person participants from industry (top R&D investors, startups, business associations), think tanks and the research community (academics and researchers, universities, Research and Technology Organisations, Technology Transfer Offices), as well as Commission services.

In the light of the dramatic global changes in the past few years, private sector innovation is crucial for economic recovery and key to the EU’s long-term competitiveness. The EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, a key Commission tool to monitor private Research & Development (R&D), has found the ICT-related sectors have been the main game changer over the past decade. It developed from a tool for benchmarking competitiveness to encompass broader societal goals such as welfare and sustainable development.

The participants discussed three main workshop topics in moderated panel and breakout sessions:

  1. On longer term trends, the importance of an innovation culture, need to avoid overregulation, address further targeting of public support towards ambitious projects e.g. in aerospace & defence, and more research and policy actions to increase Venture Capital and technology transfer were brought up.
  2. In order to bring forward the green and digital transition, industry tends to follow demand-pull dynamics and it is important to maintain technological neutrality, allowing industries to develop appropriate technologies. The importance of partnerships between universities and firms was highlighted, as such collaborations are instrumental in diffusing knowledge and spurring innovation.
  3. Regarding additional evidence needed in view of new policy developments, the need to exploit additional large datasets to characterise innovation efforts beyond R&D and use big data approaches was emphasised.

The summary report and keynote presentations can be downloaded below.

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