Brussels, 25 January 2002
Industry and research Ministers from throughout Europe are to debate the role of innovation in the creation of the European research area at an informal ministerial council in Gerona, Spain, from 1 to 2 February 2002.
An agenda for the meeting also sets out key discussions on the topic of biotechnology, recently highlighted as a key priority in Europe's drive for scientific and economic leadership by a Commission policy paper on biotechnology and life sciences launched on 23 January.
Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin will address the council on the role of biotechnology in stimulating R&D (research and development) in the EU. Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen will talk on the role of biotech in stimulating innovation in European industry. At a recent press conference for the launch of the Commission's proposal for a biotechnology policy, Mr Liikanen described biotechnology as 'the next wave of technological revolution,' which he said 'will have a considerable growth potential and broad impact on our economies and societies.'
At the informal council, Ministers will also look at ways of exploiting the potential of the biotech industry to improve the competitiveness of Europe's industry. The first day of the council will also include Ministerial debates on 'Evaluating and improving the efficiency of a variety of public measures to help stimulate private investment in R&D and innovation,' 'Stimulating mobility in the scientific community to help achieve full development of the European research area,' 'Encouraging the mobilisation of capital risk, reinforcing the role of transnational investment and stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit,' and 'Improving the system of intellectual property to optimise the flow of knowledge and technology transfer in a knowledge-based society.'
On the second day of the Council, ministers will debate the topics of 'Innovation: a crucial factor for the competitiveness of the European union,' and the process of opening up national R&D programmes.
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