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Research and innovation
News article22 February 2018Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

Bold science to meet big challenges: independent report calls for mission-oriented EU research and innovation

A plastic-free ocean, 100 carbon neutral cities by 2030 or decreasing the burden of dementia, these are examples of bold but concrete goals. Setting EU-level research and innovation missions with such ambitious goals can inspire European citizens, push the frontier for research and innovation, drive economic growth, and help solve some of our society's biggest challenges.

Today, professor Mariana Mazzucato presents her vision, entitled "Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union - A problem-solving approach to fuel innovation-led growth",  to Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. Her report is the latest in a series of inputs the Commission will consider in shaping the post-Horizon 2020 EU research and innovation framework programme.

Commissioner Moedas said: "Mariana Mazzucato provides the Commission with a valuable vision at a crucial point in the drafting of the next EU research and innovation programme. Her report provides clear insight in how research and innovation missions can create impact with societal relevance and how to design and implement such missions. I believe this will be another important step in the evolution of how we invest in research and innovation at the European level.


Professor Mazzucato said: "Innovation has both a rate and a direction. Missions provide a way to harness and direct the power of research and innovation, not only to stimulate economic activity and growth, but also to find innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time. I hope that my input will be a valuable resource so Europe can take a bold and visionary step forward.

The report recommends five key criteria for the selection of missions at EU level. They must:

  • Be bold and inspirational, with wide societal relevance
  • Be ambitious, but with realistic research & innovation actions
  • Foster cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-actor innovation
  • Set a clear direction: targeted, measureable and time-bound
  • Require multiple, bottom-up solutions

The Commission is calling on the public and research and innovation stakeholders for feedback on the report, including suggestions for possible EU research and innovation missions. The call for feedback is available here


Professor Mazzucato currently holds the Chair in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL). She is founder and director of UCL’s new Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. Her research covers the relationship between financial markets, innovation, and economic growth. She is author of the best-selling book The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths.

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Publication date
22 February 2018
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation