Impact through research: applied research for Europe’s future

How can application-oriented research and technology help solve global challenges? This question was explored by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and nine other leading European Research and Technology Organisations (RTO) at the “The RTO Innovation Summit” conference on 6–7 November 2018 in Brussels. Under the motto “Impact through research”, representatives from the RTOs discussed with delegates from European institutions, industrialists and politicians how the future of Europe can be made stronger and more competitive by investing in research, development and innovation. They also presented their vision and technology roadmap until 2030 and beyond for Europe to regain its leading position in the global market. A supporting exhibition presented selected results from applied research.

With its research framework programmes, the European Union is promoting EU-wide innovations for strengthening a competitive economy. Ahead of the new research framework programme “Horizon Europe”, which is set to run from 2021, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will address together with its nine RTO partners the five core issues of Horizon Europe:

  • Climate protection, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials
  • Digitalization and industry
  • Foodstuffs and natural resources
  • Inclusive and safe society
  • Health

Alongside these issues, conference delegates from all over Europe explored in discussion rounds and workshops the importance of applied research to the competitiveness of industry and how society’s challenges can be met. The summit was opened by Prof Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, as well as Peter Frans Pauwels, Co-Founder of TomTom.

Greater innovative power through cooperations in applied research

“Together with nine RTO partners, we will be demonstrating at The RTO Innovation Summit how applied research secures and improves innovative power of entire national economies and the leading role played by European industry,” emphasises Prof Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. “We will present together our vision and technology roadmap for Europe until 2030 and beyond. These suggestions and ideas should be echoed in the next research framework programme of the EU, paving the way for Europe to regain its leading position in the global marketplace.”

“Europe has a strong research community, strong institutions and strong industry. But we need to improve in getting research results to the market. RTOs are very important to bridge this gap and help Europe regain its competitiveness,” says Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.

Expanding Europe’s leading position in the global marketplace

Accompanying the conference, the ten European research partners presented some 40 exhibits on the interaction between human and applied research to touch and try out. The exhibits demonstrated the importance of technological developments, how they impact the economy and society as a whole and also address other issues and technologies of Horizon Europe. The conference aimed to underline and expand Europe’s leading position in the global marketplace.

The “The RTO Innovation Summit” was organized by:

  • AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria
  • CEA Tech, France
  • Danish Technological Institute, Denmark
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Germany
  • Imec, Belgium
  • RISE Research Institute of Sweden, Sweden
  • SINTEF, Norway
  • TECNALIA, Spain
  • The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), The Netherlands
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland