support the targets to be reached on competitiveness and innovation by 2020 , especially using continued investment in education and training;
stress the importance of balancing technological, social and public sector innovation;
highlight the role of a supportive local and regional environment for the integration of higher education, research and business;
underline the key role of research infrastructures in knowledge-based innovation systems; highlight the potential of cross-border cooperation, including inward investment to and outward investment from the EU
The rapporteur Mr Markkula presented the opinion on several occasions of the Irish Presidency, ERRIN, Innovation Union conference and two conferences in Sevilla and Valencia related to business competitiveness and Horizon 2020.
The rapporteur also met a representative of the Irish Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and representatives of DG CNECT, DG REGIO, DG ENTR and DG RTD.
During the meeting with Mr Dimitri Corpakis, HoU in DG RTD, Mr Corpakis stated that there is an excellent cooperation between the CoR and DG RTD in the field of Research and Innovation and underlined the importance of the CoR opinion in supporting entrepreneurial discovery, open innovation, connected smart cities and cross-border learning.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS points out that:
- As many phenomena of the digital society have already demonstrated, significant transformation takes place from the bottom up, and a pervasive mindset of "entrepreneurial discovery" is critical.
- Innovation communities operate as ecosystems through systemic value networking in a world without borders.
- Regions need new arenas as hotspots for innovation co-creation. These could be described as "innovation gardens" and "challenge platforms", which together form prototype workspaces for inventing the future.
- The CoR endorses new investments in open innovation and crowdsourcing. These are the key concepts associated with the smart city and citizen participation.
- The concept of "connected smart cities" needs to be further developed and extended throughout Europe.
- The CoR encourages the Commission to set up "entrepreneurial discovery" programmes to work at different levels and discover what is most effective for local needs and European scaling.
- A circular economy for knowledge: the results of European Commission and national research and innovation funders' programmes and projects must be reused.
- The best pioneers for developing and running Europe-wide projects should be financed through Horizon 2020 and cohesion funding – the aim being also to test effective methodologies and tools in real life collaboration and cross-border learning.