Brussels, 28 Mar 2003
More researchers with business heads are needed if Europe is to become the most competitive knowledge based economy by 2010, said Dimitris Deniozos, the Greek General Secretary for Research, on 24 March.
Speaking at an international seminar on 'enhancing human resources for European research' in Brussels, Mr Deniozos said Europe has to rethink the way in which research and technological development (RTD) and the business sector interact with one another.
The call comes at a time where figures suggest that if Europe is to achieve the 3 per cent of GDP target by 2010, public research human potential has to increase by at least 3 per cent annually. Similarly, the corresponding volume in the business sector has to increase by at least 8 per cent annually.
While quantity is important, '[q]uality matters much more, and the 'scientific excellence' is [only] one of the several attributes of the modern researcher,' said Mr Deniozos.
He added that while there are some common characteristics, the training of researchers required for academic careers in universities is not identical to the training of researchers for the business sector.
However, first and foremost Europe must decide what type of researcher is needed, argued Mr Deniozos. 'If we agree on the types of researchers and research personnel needed Europe-wide, we will facilitate both the institutions that train such people and their future potential employers.
Since the offer is often conditioning the demand, we may imagine that the supply of researchers with the right training, experience and professional behaviour will be a great incentive for the employers to hire them and trust them with the mission to bring to the market new products and services,' he said.
At the same time, Mr Deniozos stressed the need to encourage entrepreneurship among the postgraduate population. 'What Europe lacks probably most, compared to the USA is the sort of researchers that are able to establish and develop their own business, with or without the assistance of external advisors.'
Promoting this kind of innovative spirit will also have an impact on mobility among enterprises, between academic and business organisations, among disciplines and geographical regions, noted Mr Deniozos.
Mr Deniozos pointed to the Commission's mobility strategy; the communication on innovation; and initiatives, namely the researcher's mobility portal and the European network of mobility centres as steps in the right direction. However he finished by saying that that further actions at national and European level as well as in the business sector are necessary to facilitate the dissemination of qualified researchers in the economy.