Written by Silvia Polidori,
- What is the impact of new technologies, in particular Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) at European local and regional level?
- What is the state-of-the-art in the development of science and technology parks in Europe, as a means of promoting research in and applications of new technologies?
- What are the main achievements and remaining challenges to fully exploiting the potential of ICTs and science and technology parks under cohesion policy for the benefit of European growth?
A workshop organised by the Science and Technology Assessment (STOA) Panel of the European Parliament will address these questions on 16 October 2017. Speakers from European institutions, national and regional governments, and experts in the field will contribute to the discussion on how European investments in ICT technologies and facilities can foster local economies and create innovation and growth. The outcome of the event will feed into the debate on the next cohesion policy framework.
Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, (EPP, Spain), European Parliament Vice-President responsible for STOA will open the workshop, which will be co-chaired by Constanze Krehl (S&D, Germany) and Lambert van Nistelrooij (EPP, the Netherlands), Members of the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development (REGI). Also a Member of the REGI Committee, STOA Panel member Georgi Pirinski (S&D, Bulgaria) will close the workshop. A subsequent in-depth report will draw upon the debate, and will be published on the STOA website.
The workshop and in-depth report implement a STOA project aimed at highlighting the importance of the territorial dimension for economic growth at European level. It focuses on the role and potential of the existing cohesion policy funding in planning and implementing ICT infrastructures in the regions, and in accompanying the efforts to digitalise European economy and society.
The event takes place in a context where new technologies and the digital economy are growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the economy. The development of ICTs is vital for Europe’s competitiveness in today’s increasingly digital global economy. Local and regional authorities may well benefit from many of the opportunities that new technologies and the digital era offer. Sustainable growth is increasingly related to the capacity of regional economies to innovate and transform, adapting to an ever-changing and increasingly competitive environment. Great effort is therefore needed to create eco-systems that encourage innovation, research and development (R&D) and entrepreneurship at local and regional level, as more generally stressed in the Europe 2020 strategy and its innovation union flagship initiative.
In the same context, the workshop will also highlight the role and potential of cohesion policy funding in planning and implementing integrated science and technology parks (STPs). The integration of science and technology facilities has proven to attract private funding and create jobs. However, public investments are central when it comes to financing projects with high risks, as for example is the case for the highly specialised facilities and laboratories typical of integrated parks.
The project (workshop and in-depth report) will trace the development of STPs as they have spread through European regions. It will also examine how the EU’s cohesion policy has supported industry and government collaboration in research to deliver innovation in their regions. EU support has been crucial in building and developing STPs, which play a significant role in the EU regional eco-innovation systems. As such, Parliament’s analysis aspires to facilitate dialogue between national, regional and local government levels, which bring EU priorities closer to citizens, strengthening the feeling of ownership needed to get everyone involved in moving Europe towards the 2020 targets.
STOA believes that gathering the relevant actors at the European Parliament and involving them in an open discussion on how cohesion policy can support new technologies, through the establishment of integrated science parks among other things, can contribute to the improvement of cohesion policy for the benefit of all Europeans. The European Parliament is the European institution best suited to host a stimulating debate between citizens, the European Commission as initiator of new legislation, and the local, regional and national authorities in the Member States, who will have the opportunity to build a better understanding of how to maximise the use of new technologies in the service of citizens.
Interested? Register for the workshop and join the debate.