"Our common goal at the national and European level must be to enhance Europe's competitiveness. Investments in science and research are the basis for growth and employment. To provide a foundation for successful social and economic advancement, we must continue to build Europe's innovative strength by intensifying collaboration activities as well as the exchange of knowledge," commented Austrian Federal Minister of Science and Research Reinhold Mitterlehner at the Science Europe event in Vienna.
FWF President Pascale Ehrenfreund emphasised the need to strengthen all of the components in the innovation chain – with basic research as their basis – in order to create an optimised "ecosystem of innovation" in which individual roles are understood as complementary. Especially in the field of basic research, worldwide collaboration is among the prerequisites for outstanding achievements in science and research. In the context of national and European research policies, creating a suitable framework for research collaboration remains a key challenge.
At the event, the topics of research-based innovation and research cooperation with non-European countries were discussed by leading representatives of 50 Science Europe member organisations from 27 countries, high-ranking representatives of the European Commission, including Wolfgang Burtscher (Deputy Director for Research and Innovation) and ERC President Jean-Pierre Bourguignon. The event was also attended by representatives of national science and research ministries, including ministers and state secretaries from Belgium, Croatia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland.
Research-based innovation is a process which generates advances in services, products and methods on the basis of new insights generated by research. In this context, the institutional perspective must not be regarded as an end in itself, but as a means of strengthening the overall system.
A suitable "ecosystem of innovation" requires the coordinated distribution of roles among all parties involved, and outstanding basic research must lie at the heart of such a system.
A great deal of cutting-edge research is conducted in worldwide cooperation arrangements. At the same time, worldwide mobility has increased, especially among top-notch scientists and researchers. In light of the dynamic development of national science and research systems in both established and emerging non-European countries, a suitable framework and targeted measures at the European and national level can generate promising development prospects for Europe and national research locations. The active internationalisation policy of the European science and research system requires shared perspectives among European actors as well as various national policy bodies and agencies, along with a coordinated distribution of roles and a tailored range of activities.
Both research-based innovation and cooperation with international research partners presuppose sufficient long-term funding for national and European research organisations. In particular, international competition for the best and brightest people and ideas has given rise to a clear political and financial commitment to Europe as a location for research and innovation in order to ensure medium and long-term prosperity.
The High Level Workshop will contribute to the advancement of these two agendas at the European level.