Brussels, 13 July 2010
Enabling our future: experts to advise Commission on upcoming technologies
Hardly anybody would have forecast 10 years ago that the business world would look as it does today. We use no typewriters any more and most information is available and exchanged electronically. How will the industrial world look in 10 years time? Which products and technologies will we use to produce goods, to do business, to learn, to live and to communicate? To better explore the potential that these technologies can offer, European Commission Vice-Presidents Antonio Tajani, Neelie Kroes and Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn launched today the high-level expert group on key enabling technologies. Key enabling technologies, such as nanotechnology, micro- and nanoelectronics including semiconductors, advanced materials, biotechnology and photonics are of exceptional importance for shaping the industrial future of the EU. The work of this group will eventually contribute to a European strategy for the industrial deployment of such technologies.
Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "Most of the goods and services that will be available in 5 to 10 years are yet unknown, but surely they will be based on key enabling technologies. The advice of the high-level expert group as to how to deploy these key enabling technologies is crucial for the renewal of our industrial base. The work of this group is another tool with which the EU can achieve its Europe 2020 objectives."
As such, key enabling technologies are of systemic importance to our economies and bear enormous market potentials. The global market volume of nanotechnology, micro- and nanoelectronics, industrial biotechnology, photonics, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing systems is estimated by experts at about 500 – 570 billion euros annually. The expected annual growth rates range between 5% and 46%. In comparison, the market volume of established industries, such as the electronics, automotive, chemicals or pharmaceuticals industry, each generates between 1000 – 1800 billion euros each year in global sales.
The EU needs to work on policy measures to ensure that key enabling technologies are commercialised effectively and the results of its own R&D are successfully capitalised. The mandate of the high-level expert group is to develop a shared long-term strategy on how to improve the deployment of key enabling technologies at European level. Based on this work the Commission will report back to the Council and the European Parliament in 2011.
The Communication forms an integral part of the EU industrial and innovation policy.