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Research and innovation

What is the New European Innovation Agenda?

Innovation, and in particular its new wave of deep-tech innovation, is the European reply to bring down greenhouse gas emissions, to make our economies more digital and to guarantee Europe’s food, energy and raw materials security.

The New European Innovation Agenda, adopted on 5 July 2022, aims to position Europe at the forefront of the new wave of deep tech innovation and start-ups. It will help Europe to develop new technologies to address the most pressing societal challenges, and to bring them on the market. Europe wants to be the place where the best talent work hand in hand with the best companies and where deep tech innovation thrives and creates breakthrough innovative solutions across the continent.

The New European Innovation Agenda will:

  • improve access to finance for European start-ups and scale-ups, for example, by mobilising untapped sources of private capital and simplifying listing rules
  • improve the conditions to allow innovators to experiment with new ideas through regulatory sandboxes
  • help create “regional innovation valleys” that will strengthen and better connect innovation players through Europe, including in regions lagging behind
  • attract and retain talent in Europe, for example by training 1 million deep tech talents, increasing support for women innovators and innovating with start-up employees’ stock options
  • improve the policy framework through clearer terminology, indicators and data sets, as well as policy support to Member States

Press Release: Commission presents new European Innovation Agenda to spearhead the new innovation wave

Flagship actions

The New European Innovation Agenda focuses on five flagships:

  • Funding Scale-Ups will mobilise institutional and other private investors in Europe to invest in, and benefit from the scaling of European deep-tech start-ups.
  • Enabling innovation through experimentation spaces and public procurement will facilitate innovation through improved framework conditions including experimental approaches to regulation (e.g. regulatory sandboxes, test beds, living labs and innovation procurement).
  • Accelerating and strengthening innovation in European Innovation Ecosystems across the EU and addressing the innovation divide will support the creation of regional innovation valleys and help Member  States and regions direct at least EUR 10 billion to concrete interregional innovation projects, including in deep-tech innovation for key EU priorities. It will also support Member States to foster innovation in all regions through the integrated use of cohesion policy and Horizon Europe instruments.
  • Fostering, attracting and retaining talents will ensure the development and flow of essential deep tech talents in and to the EU through a series of initiatives including an innovation intern scheme for startups and scale-ups, an EU talent pool to EUhelp startups and innovative businesses find non-EU talent, a women entrepreneurship and leadership scheme and a pioneering work on startup employees’ stock options.
  • Improving policy making tools will be the key for development and use of robust, comparable data sets and a shared definitions (startups, scale-up) that can inform policies at all levels across the EU and for ensuring better policy coordination at the European level through the European Innovation Council Forum.

Building on the substantive work that have been done already to foster innovation in the EU, the New European Innovation Agenda aims to accelerate the development and scaling up of innovation across the Union through a coherent set of 25 actions.

A new European Innovation Agenda to spearhead the new innovation wave (Factsheet)

Staff working document

Timeline

  1. 12 April - 10 May 2022
    Publication of the call for Evidence on the better regulation portal: stakeholders had 4 weeks to comment
  2. Mid May 2022
    Process stakeholder feedback and draft text of the Communication
  3. Early June 2022
    Commission internal inter-service consultation
  4. 5 July 2022
    Adoption of the Communication

Consultations

Throughout long consultations and co-creation processes with stakeholders, five broad action areas have emerged that are essential to boosting Europe’s innovation performance.

These five main areas are:

  • Access to finance: scale-up gap
  • Framework conditions, including legislation: scope for more pro-innovation regulation
  • Fragmentation of the EU innovation ecosystem: need to strengthen and better connect innovation ecosystems
  • Innovation performance: differences among EU regions
  • Talent: developing, retaining and attracting entrepreneurial talents, encouraging diversity

Europe’s Innovation Ecosystem Survey Report

As a part of the stakeholder consultations process, in 2021, the Commission conducted a survey for innovation stakeholders to grasp their views on the challenges that Europe’s innovation ecosystem actors are facing, the opportunities foreseen ahead, and visions and ideas for future actions. The survey received a total of 239 responses from participants active in all 27 EU Member States, representing a wide range of innovation stakeholders, including: Universities and Research Organisations; individual Researchers, Innovators and Citizens of EU Member States; Small and Medium Enterprises, Businesses and Startups.

Stakeholders’ Group Consultations

Unicorns Group

The Unicorns group brings together 32 Unicorns from 27 Member States. In April 2021, the group submitted the report “#NextInnovationEU”, A LEAN CANVAS FOR NEXT INNOVATION EU to Commissioner Gabriel, which outlines 8 proposals for actions in order to ensure Europe’s tech sovereignty, green transformation, deep tech leadership, and innovation cohesion.

European Innovation Ecosystem Leaders Group

The Innovation Ecosystem Leaders Group brings together leading startup ecosystem leaders from across 27 EU Member States. In May 2021, the group submitted its report ”Action Plan to Make Europe the new Global Powerhouse for Startups”, proposing a set of actions to support the development of startups and the increase of the number of unicorns in Europe over the next decade as well as to give a voice to the startup innovation ecosystem representatives in the EU-level innovation policy.

Women in Venture Capitals Group

On 15 July 2021, the Women in Venture Capital group published an online report on women-led venture capital in Europe, titled “Invest in Women NOW”. The report features concrete recommendations for the European Commission and the European Investment Bank on how to increase female-led venture capital funds, and improve access to finance for women-led companies. The actions of the initiative aim to reach 30% of total Limited Partners/Fund of Funds capital available to be invested for female-led funds within 3 years, and to reach equal stakes by 2028.

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