European Commission sets out guidelines on giving European industry a competitive edge in deploying the industrial technologies of the future
Brussels 28 June 2011. A key expert group set up by the Commission set out guidelines on giving European industry a competitive edge in deploying the industrial technologies of the future (Key Enabling Technologies). The main conclusions call on decision-makers to adopt radical policy objectives to retain critical capability and capacity in Europe through a single and comprehensive approach to KETs. In particular, the group recommends that the vital importance of KETs should be reflected in the structure and funding balance in the upcoming framework for research and innovation and in the priorities of the EU's future regional policy. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani warned that Europe’s industry "would suffer losses in competitiveness", if it fails to successfully exploit the six following important KETs (micro- and nanoelectronics, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, photonics, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing systems). "Europe's innovation depends on the development and growth of Key Enabling Technologies. We need to focus our policies better and align them to create more synergies between our instruments to boost Europe's capabilities in the area of KETS. I am convinced KET's follow-through applications will allow Europe to create more jobs and growth. The commitment of private stakeholders to investing in Europe will also be vital for success", he said.
Technological research and product demonstration projects should be given a high priority. Further recommendations cover the combination of funding mechanisms at EU and national level and a set of actions to enhance technological skills in Europe. An "in Europe first" Intellectual Property policy is called for and a monitoring mechanism to analyse market developments on KETs is also proposed.
The Commission will report back on the policy recommendations in a communication at the beginning of 2012.
KETs are embedded at the core of innovative advanced products
Combinations of KETs are embedded at the core of most advanced products. For example, an electric car is a combination of advanced materials for batteries, microelectronics components for power electronics in order to reduce the weight of the car, photonics for low consumption lighting, industrial biotechnologies for low friction tyres and finally advanced manufacturing systems to produce electrical vehicles at a competitive cost. Similarly a mobile phone incorporates microelectronic chips for communications, photonics enabled camera and optics, advanced materials for new tactile screens, and so forth. A recent real-time avian flu test instrument incorporated biotech labels, microelectronics chips, laser based photonic detection, and nanotechnology optimised surfaces for fluidic processing.
The High-Level Group was launched on 13 July 2010 by Vice-Presidents Antonio Tajani and Neelie Kroes and Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn and met three times.