Brussels, 14 Jun 2004
'Innovation is at the top of the political agenda,' said the newly appointed Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, Jan Figel', at a recent innovation relay centre (IRC) meeting.
Mr Figel' ran through the Commission initiatives aimed at boosting innovation, which include the Entrepreneurship Action Plan, the innovation consultation paper, the innovation regions in Europe (IRE) network and the IRCs.
'Efforts to foster knowledge transfer through the stimulation of new and fast-growing SMEs [small and medium sized enterprises], the development of innovative clusters, and the promotion of technology transfer between industry sectors are essential if we want to develop and maintain a dynamic and competitive platform for European enterprises,' said Mr Figel'.
The Commissioner highlighted both networking and regional cooperation as key to fostering innovation. 'Encouraging cooperation and networking between enterprises can make the difference between success and failure,' he said. 'Interactions and interdependencies among different firms are at the root of the learning processes and innovation activity.'
Mr Figel' praised the extension of the IRC network to 71 centres in 32 countries. In addition, a pilot centre has recently been established in Chile. 'In common with our policy objectives, the wide range of IRC services continue to be targeted at technology-orientated SMEs, but are also available to larger companies, research institutes, universities, technology centres and innovation agencies,' said Mr Figel'.