What is it?

The “Innovation Union” is one of the so-called ‘flagship initiatives’ of the Europe 2020 strategy launched by the European Commission in October 2010. The Europe 2020 Strategy represents Europe’s plan for strengthening its economy through smart, sustainable and inclusive growth over the coming decade. The Europe 2020 strategy identifies seven flagship initiatives, each targeting one or more of the identified growth objectives. Innovation Union addresses the ‘smart growth’ objective. The other flagship initiatives addressing smart growth are ‘Youth on the Move’ and ‘Digital Agenda for Europe’.

Why is it needed?

One crucial weakness in Europe’s innovation system is the failure to translate good ideas and research results into new products, processed and services; and the failure to do so quickly. This has an impact on Europe’s competitive edge on other major economies as well as the day-to-day quality of life of European citizens.

The “Innovation Union” seeks to address these deficiencies by reinforcing existing successful initiatives and identify new initiatives needed, while addressing innovation in its widest context. Thirty four initiatives are identified with the aims of strengthening Europe’s knowledge base in R&D, supporting good ideas to reach the market, maximising the benefits of innovation across all regions by supporting convergence thus avoiding an ‘innovation divide’, maximising the social benefits of innovation, pooling efforts to achieve innovation breakthroughs while addressing Europe’s societal challenges through ‘European Innovation Partnerships’, and increasing collaboration with Europe’s international partners.

The Common Strategic Framework

Discussions on research and innovation funding in the next multi-annual financial framework have started. The overarching aims are to simplify participation, ensure synergies and complementarities between different programmes and achieve the greatest impact.

A ‘Common Strategic Framework’ for research and innovation funding was proposed by the Commission in February 2011 through a Green Paper

Link (http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.eco-opinions.23894) which proposes major changes to the present European funding landscape by bringing together the present Seventh Framework Programme, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.