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European Commission


Brussels, 27 February 2013

Agreement with EIB for breakthrough of Key Enabling Technologies

At the inaugural meeting of the High Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank that will pave the way for improved access to finance for investments in key enabling technologies. KETs - nanotechnology, micro-/nanoelectronics, industrial biotechnology, advanced materials, photonics and advanced manufacturing technologies – are of exceptional importance for shaping the future innovation and competitiveness of the EU. The global market in KETs is forecast to grow from about EUR 650 billion in 2008 to over one trillion euro in 2015. World leading industries in fields of automotive, chemicals, aeronautics, space, health and energy are all users of KETs. To ensure the EU can fully participate in this growth and indeed continue its leading position, a new High-Level Group on KETs was launched today to assist the Commission in the implementation of the European strategy to boost the industrial production of KETs-based products in Europe.

The Group was inaugurated by European Commission Vice-Presidents Antonio Tajani and Neelie Kroes as well as Commissioners Máire Geoghegan-Quinn and Johannes Hahn, reflecting the cross cutting influences on KETs: industry policy, the digital agenda, research, research, innovation and science, and regional policy. The EIB is represented in the High-Level Group by EIB Vice President Philippe de Fontaine Vive.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, and Vice President Philippe de Fontaine Vive, responsible for innovation at the Bank, underlined that the agreement signed between the two institutions was a strong signal to Europe. Key Enabling Technologies should be a priority investment area in Europe.

Develop the industrial deployment of European KETs

The group aims to foster the industrial deployment of European KETs in order to keep pace with our main international competitors, restore growth, create jobs and help address today's major societal challenges.

The high-level group will advise the Commission on the implementation of the strategy to boost KETs in Europe. The scope of issues to be discussed by the high-level group is broad and relates to:

  • Research and innovation aspects,

  • Financial engineering mechanisms for KETs-projects,

  • Cooperation of KETs value chain stakeholders,

  • Trade and state aid related issues,

  • Human capital & skills and

  • National and regional KETs policies.

Vice-President Antonio Tajani and EIB Vice President Philippe de Fontaine Vive drew attention to the fact that the Commission and the EIB had already adapted its policy instruments to promote the industrial deployment of KETs and that more coordination was now needed to prevent the leaving of industry Europe, as well as that of Europe's centres of excellence. Both expressed their strong wish that the private and other actors represented in the High-Level Group had to contribute to the successful deployment of key enabling technologies.

The following key organisations are represented in the HLG1:

  • technology providers for each of the six KET: nanotechnology, micro & nano-electronics, photonics, advanced materials, industrial biotechnology and advanced manufacturing systems

  • down-stream industry users – e.g. energy, aeronautics, equipment, healthcare, biomaterials - as the aim of the KETs Strategy is to boost the production of KETs-based product;

  • civil society representatives and cross-cutting KETs representatives: trade union association, environmental NGO, movement involving local and regional authorities as well as the Skills and SME Community, the Research Community and the European Investment Bank;

  • Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs), e.g. Energy Efficient Buildings, Factories of the Future, Green Cars.

Key Enabling Technologies

Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) - nanotechnology, micro-/nanoelectronics, industrial biotechnology, advanced materials, photonics and advanced manufacturing technologies – provide the technology bricks that enable a wide range of innovative product applications, including those required to address societal challenges.

Examples of KETs-based products are high-efficiency photonic LEDs; advanced batteries combining advanced materials and nanotechnologies for electro-mobility; biochips combining advanced materials, nanoelectronics and photonics to detect diseases; low friction car tyres based on industrial biotechnology; nanocomponents issued from nanoelectronics for mobile phones etc.

Europe no longer KETs innovation leader

Europe is a global leader in KETs research and development with a global share in patent applications of more than 30%. Despite this, the EU is not translating its dominant R&D base into the production of goods and services needed to stimulate growth and jobs.

This is why the Commission called in June 2012 for a European effort to boost KETs2. The importance of KETs in delivering sustainable growth, creating high-value jobs and solving societal challenges has also been underlined in the reinforced industrial policy Communication of October 20123.

Previous High-Level Group on KETs

The first High Level Group for KET had a mandate of one year and developed a shared long-term strategy on how to improve the deployment of KETs at European level. The group published its final report in June 2011. The final report and the eleven specific recommendations were carefully considered when preparing the European strategy for KETs, adopted by the Commission in June 2012.

More information

1 :

The list of member organisations and their representatives is published on the website for Commission expert groups: (Search / Code Group:E02841)

2 :

COM(2012) 341, A European Strategy for Key Enabling Technologies – A bridge to growth and jobs.

3 :

COM(2012) 582, A Stronger European Industry for Growth and Economic Recovery.

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