Eurochambres Position Paper on the idea of a European Institute of Technology

December 12, 2005

Brussels, 09 Dec 2005

SUMMARY OF EUROCHAMBRES' POSITION

  • European Chambers are not convinced of the need for an EIT in the conventional sense. The only added value would be in the integration of knowledge, commitment and power of world class researchers AND enterprises.

  • Should there be an EIT, the European Chambers are in the opinion that its primary focus must be on improving the commercial exploitation of research within an integrated approach of teaching, research and technology transfer.

  • - EUROCHAMBRES supports issuedriven research with a strong orientation towards the industrial and economic sector.

General introduction

There are many outstanding institutions for technological research in Europe and any policy should strive to further strengthen those, as well as to raise the quality of education and research at universities and institutes that today belong in the second class. The best way to raise this level resides in the promotion of excellent endeavours in research and training along with an agreed certification process that benchmarks quality.

European Chambers are not convinced of the need for an EIT in the conventional sense. The EIT that Europe needs is an instrument that can foster the commercial exploitation of research results. A European Institute for Technology that integrates the knowledge, the commitment and the power of world-class researchers and enterprises and thus acts as pole of attraction for the very best minds, ideas and companies from around the world.

Question 1. Mission of the EIT

  • 1.1 Should there be an EIT, the European Chambers are in the opinion that its primary focus must be on improving the commercial exploitation of research within an integrated approach of teaching, research and technology transfer.

  • 1.2 The reasons for such position are that
    • Europe lags behind in terms of exploiting the results of its first class research to develop commercially-viable products and processes. An improved co-operation of the innovationdrivers, research and development, production and market is necessary.

    • As technology transfer is mainly organised on regional (or national) levels, an improved exchange and networking between business-relevant transfer support schemes on the European level could be fruitful.

    • We believe that the focus on education / teaching/ training is provided by an abundance of other institutions in the EU (including universities / academic institutions) and focusing the EIT on these areas would only duplicate what already exists.

Question 2. Added value of the EIT

  • 2.1 European Chambers see the main potential contribution on this issue as
    • Promoting innovation and technology transfer throughout the EU

    • Encouraging collaboration between the academic/research world and large-scale industry but also SMEs and employers

    • Developing commercial opportunities for research products and processes

    • Providing a model of excellence to disseminate best practices.

  • 2.2 The reasons for such position are that
    • Co-operation between science and business has to become self-evident as well as competition between scientific organisations. The EIT can provide added-value by supporting the networking of the different public and private research and innovation stake-holders with a special focus on technology transfer.

    • In doing so, support for SMEs needs special attention. The need to support SMEs is imperative because even though SMEs constitute the vast majority of European enterprises, they are lagging behind (compared to large enterprises) in engaging in research but also in commercially exploiting the results of research for a variety of reasons, such as lack of information, lack of funding, lack of support and assistance, etc.

    • A number of research projects are funded or co-funded in parallel. It would be useful to allocate funds and to integrate research results into single European projects where they are financially efficient and create a coordinated network of European research activity.
  • Question 3. Structure of the EIT

    Any attempt to establish an EIT, with 1, 16 or 25 locations will inevitably lead to a tiresome and destructive battle about localisation.

    We must note that the positions of EUROCHAMBRES members differ on this issue. About half of the Chambers do not see an interest for a structured EIT in the conventional sense. No need for costly office infrastructure (like for the MIT) but rather a need for a benchmarking exercise completed with a voluntary certification process that aims to raise excellence in research and training.

    The other half supports a small network of 4 to 6 institutions (with one institution as leader). Such a structure would combine the benefits of decentralisation and networking/collaboration without creating administrative burdens and the loss of a focused approach.

    One Chamber believes, nevertheless, that a large network of 15 to 25 institutions is more likely to achieve results at regional level.

    Question 4. Research priorities of the EIT

    In order to reach the business community with the results of research the work and the aim of an EIT need to be business-oriented. The EIT's research priorities should therefore be focussed on themes and problems being especially relevant to business or certain business sectors.

    This position paper has been produced by EUROCHAMBRES; the Brussels based Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

    EUROCHAMBRES is the sole European body that serves the interests of every sector and every size of European business and the only one so close to business. EUROCHAMBRES has member organisations in 44 countries representing a network of 2,000 regional and local Chambers with over 18 million member companies. Chamber members employ over 120 million employees.

    For further information about the position paper:
    Vincent Tilman
    tilman@eurochambres.be
    Direct tel.: +32 2 282 08 67
    Fax: +32 2230 0038

    Eurochambres
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