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EUREKA - a vision for the past, present and future


EUREKA’s 20 years of experience in the field of European collaborative research and innovation is an important resource, proven by its success in real-world conditions. The Prague EUREKA Forum on 21 October 2005 agreed that this pool of knowledge should be used in synergy with the European Commission in the process of creating and developing European and member countries’ funding programmes.

“I believe that if sustainable recovery of the European economy is to be achieved, substantial investment in research and innovation is vital for the future competitiveness of European industry,” said Martin Jahn, Vice-Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. “The EUREKA Forum provides an opportunity for key players in industry, public and private funding sources and national authorities to debate important issues regarding the future of European research.”

The Forum’s primary aim was to raise the political profile of the EUREKA Initiative and to reinforce the commitment of member countries in ensuring the stability and predictability of national public funding for innovative research.

“As the first country from Central and Eastern Europe to hold the Presidency of the EUREKA Initiative, we were proud to have organised such a unique event. By examining the evolution of the Initiative over two decades, we are helping enable EUREKA to move forward with a clearer vision for supporting and developing European competitiveness and growth,” said Petr Krenek, the EUREKA High Level Group (HLG) Chairman.

Raising industry’s voice

EUREKA’s close dialogue with industry is increasingly important in boosting industrial involvement at a strategic level. “Innovation is a source of real competitive advantage,” emphasised Miroslav Janecek, Chairman of the EUREKA National Project Coordinator (NPC) Group. “As one of the key drivers of productivity, it is central to Europe’s prospects for sustained prosperity.”

Forum participants also considered the recommendations and results of the May 2005 EUREKA Interparliamentary Conference in The Hague that focused on the need to raise R&D investment in Europe, and the June 2005 EUREKA Industry Day in Schiphol, where a clear call was made for better funding coordination between member countries.

“The level of R&D development must increase and Europe needs to get the degree of capital investment available just right to recover its competitive edge,” concluded Ian Harrison, Director of Knowledge Transfer Services, UK Department of Trade and Industry.

A vision for the future

Key players outlined diverse views during the Forum on ‘EUREKA’s experiences and visions’, highlighting the necessity for a roadmap for the future. The myriad experiences expressed were then summarised in a working document entitled the ‘EUREKA Prague Resolution’. This Resolution will act as a basic platform for the incorporation of the results of successive debates and discussions at various EUREKA meetings chaired by the Czech Presidency. The definitive result of this process will then be presented at the EUREKA Ministerial Conference in June 2006 in Prague.

In the meantime, the Czech Chairmanship aims to strengthen EUREKA links to other European programmes and funding mechanisms. It also intends to boost EUREKA’s political profile with the European Parliament, especially the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee, and to enhance the relationship between the EUREKA Initiative and the 7th Framework Programme. EUREKA is already driving co-operative research and supporting industrial needs, global competitiveness and innovation in Europe to meet the target of increasing R&D by 3% of GDP by 2010.

Catherine Shiels | alfa
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