Lisbon, 6 October 2014
The Future of Europe is Science
Today the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso is in Lisbon to attend the high level conference on "The Future of Europe is Science".
The conference, which takes place at the Champalimaud Foundation, gathers some 400 actors from the world of science, industry and society, aiming at take stock of European achievements in science over the past 10 years. World-class scientists, industrialists and political figures will also debate the role science, technology and innovation can play in societal well-being and its potential to stimulate growth, jobs and business development opportunities for Europe.
Ahead of the Conference, President Barroso said: "Europe is facing many challenges today and many of the solutions to these problems will come from science and from new technologies. Science does indeed matter for the future of Europe. We should be proud of our incredible legacy of scientific leadership. Innovation is indeed a growth multiplier; during this Conference, we will have a real opportunity to think about how to link the excellent knowledge we produce in Europe with more economy growth and jobs."
President Barroso will deliver the opening speech of the conference, to be followed by an address by the President of the Republic, Aníbal Cavaco Silva. The conference will also feature the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, and Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard. Professor Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Adviser to the President, will open the second day of the conference with Professor Victor De Lorenzo, Co-chair of the Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC).
The Report "The Future of Europe is Science":
At this Conference, the European Commission will launch the report of the STAC, the Council which advises the President on scientific matters. This report is entitled "The Future of Europe is Science". It outlines some key opportunities for Europe that could be provided by science and technology, looking ahead to the year 2030. It is structured around citizens' priorities, as identified by a new Eurobarometer survey which is also published today (Special Eurobarometer 419 on "Public perceptions of Science, Research and Innovation"). The survey found that health and medical care and job creation were seen by European citizens as the top priorities for science and technology innovation over the next 15 years.
On the topic of health and medical care, the Council's report highlights the potential opportunities of personalised medicine, performance enhancing technologies, brain imaging and the microbiome (microbes in the human body). These could help us to understand and tackle diseases more effectively in future.
The section on jobs, ICT and learning notes the challenges of dealing with the growing amounts of information (especially online). The report recommends that the EU and Member States must focus on training old and young alike to "learn how to learn", so that knowledge, skills and critical thinking can be acquired throughout a working lifetime. The report also includes commentary on additive manufacturing (3D printing) and ICT developments and mobile technologies.
In relation to environment, climate and energy, the report highlights research to replace or find new materials (e.g. graphene) as well as the potential to develop bio-based industries for production. The report recommends that investments in resource exploration should be assessed according to their sustainability.
Finally, the report outlines the Council's vision for a knowledge-guided society in Europe, where it is citizens that make the choices about the future of Europe, using shared knowledge and evidence. It praises the Commission's activities in scientific foresight and recommends that foresight activities should be linked to policy development, so that Europe is already preparing for the future beyond Horizon 2020.
The Science and Technology Advisory Council (STAC), is an independent and informal group of science and technology experts from academia and business, covering a broad range of disciplines and uniting expertise from across the European Research Area. Established in January 2013 by President Barroso, the task of the Council is to examine areas where research and innovation can contribute to Europe's growth — with a particular focus on benefits and risks of advances in science & technology and how to address and communicate these.
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
Conference website (including programme)
STAC website (including minutes of meetings, members and reports/opinions)