Spotlight on innovation and competitiveness in the next Framework Programme
16 May 2017
The current transformation occurring within the manufacturing industry, the new technologies taking centre stage, and the growing interest in digitisation, has impacted the latest discussion on the results of the Framework Programme Horizon 2020 so far. As the European Commission conducts its mid-term review of the Programme, an early debate over the course to take for the Framework Programme 9 (FP9) has also begun to emerge. Within this context, and in light of the continued importance of EU-level R&D funding to engineering, Orgalime, Teknikföretagen and the European Forum for Manufacturing (EFM) co-organised a dinner debate at the European Parliament on 3 May. In the limelight was the role of innovation and competitiveness for manufacturing in Europe. MEPs from across the political spectrum, a Commission representative, and company speakers deliberated over the approaches to take in order to shape the future FP9.
Orgalime has maintained in its Position Paper that in the face of rising competition from Asia and America especially, massive European research and development investment, both on a private and public level is one of the key answers to stay at the forefront of this global competitive landscape. Speakers at the event agreed that FP9 will need to concentrate on the competitiveness of Europe’s manufacturing and in particular engineering industry, with the aim of positioning the EU as a technology leader and therefore as a favourite destination for manufacturing investment. Within this strategy, is the very real possibility of creating more jobs and economic growth whilst encouraging greater innovation.
One speaker exemplified the changes taking place within the industry by comparing the traditional and outdated image of manufacturing: looming factory chimneys and black smoke – as opposed to what is in reality now occurring. Engineering has always been at the frontline of innovation and is today leading the way in the digital revolution in manufacturing. It was encouraging to hear broad support from both MEPs and company speakers for an ambitious FP9 that would target competitiveness and technological innovation – creating an opportunity for helping tackle the social, environmental and economic challenges the EU faces.