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Research and innovation
News article21 June 2024Directorate-General for Research and Innovation1 min read

A systemic R&I policy for Europe – redefining competitiveness for long-term sustainability

The Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Expert Group on the Economic and Societal Impact of R&I (ESIR) has published a new policy brief on the role of R&I policy in enabling sustainability and competitiveness. 

Research and Innovation (R&I) is a key driving force for EU’s green and digital transitions, but also of its competitive edge against economic and geopolitical competitors. However, these objectives present tensions that need to be resolved. 

The ESIR group discusses the current approaches to competitiveness and their implications for R&I policy. They argue that a systemic approach to R&I policy can enable a new economic competitiveness that can coexist with long-term environmental and societal sustainability goals.

With two case studies, the experts illustrate the advantages and challenges faced by Europe in reaching competitiveness in the face of global crises. By looking at circular economy, the systematic aspect of the transition to Industry 5.0 is put in parallel with the green hydrogen case outlining the potential of sustainability to give Europe an edge in the race to sustainable, sovereign, and cheap energy. 

Publication cover
Report13 June 2024
Why Europe needs a systemic R&I policy: Redefining competitiveness for long-term sustainability

This policy brief argues for a systemic approach to R&I policy in enabling an economic competitiveness articulated with the environmental and societal sustainability goals. 


ESIR is a high-level expert group that provides evidence-based policy advice to the Commission on how to develop a forward-looking and transformative research and innovation policy. Its 16 experts will provide independent advice on how EU research and innovation policy can best support the transformation of our economy and society throughout the social, green and digital transitions.

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Publication date
21 June 2024
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation