3rd European Innovation Summit 2011

Innovation needs more than research!

Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) and its partners received overwhelming feedback for the organisation of the third edition of the European Innovation Summit. “Innovation needs more than research”, was the main message of the conference that took place from 10th to 12th of October, in Brussels under the patronage of the European Parliament, and in Warsaw as a Ministerial Conference and one of four flagship Polish Presidency events.

In a video message (link) the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, made it very clear that “Innovation is the way out of the current economic crisis.” He added: “We await the outcomes of the summit with great hope.” The outcome of the conference sessions – which gathered more than a hundred expert panellists from Europe and beyond– will be presented and discussed at the Commission landmark event “Innovation Convention” in Brussels on 6th of December.

Under the motto “Towards a European Innovation Ecosystem”, the conference focused on issues that are of major concern to Europe’s policy makers, businesses and citizens.

Krzysztof Gulda, Director, Department of Strategy, Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, pointed out during the Summit’s opening ceremony in Warsaw that one of the main challenges for  Europe is to overcome the fragmentation of the innovation system and to create a true single market for innovation in order to stay globally competitive.

Roland Strauss, Managing Director of Konwledge4Innovation explained that "Innovation is a very complex concept ranging from education to internationalisation of markets and consequently involves a variety of policy areas where only one of which is research. Even though research is important for innovation there are many other ingredients necessary to make innovations successful. Innovation means by definition risk taking and acceptance of failure."​ 

Lambert van Nistelrooij, Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the K4I Forum of the European Parliament, confirmed to the audience that innovation is one of the main drivers of the European economy. "It is, however, important that we put in place a framework that facilitates the path from knowledge to innovations that then ultimately generate jobs and growth.

Carlos Oliveira, Secretary of State for Entrepreneurship, Competitiveness and Innovation in Portugal, stated that “SMEs are the key for European competitiveness and the engine for economic growth and source of most innovations in the industry. The relationship between SMEs and large corporation is the key element on the impact they can have on innovation.

Alojz Peterle, Member of the European Parliament and K4I Forum Governor, emphasised the need of young people for role models and raised the question, “What do we need to do in order to stimulate young people to get interested in innovation?“ He explained that “We need to give good examples and show best practices.” Peterle also introduced the topic of Social Innovation which “means to improve the functioning of society in order to achieve particular goals in a variety of areas. If we don’t respect the social context of the problem, we don’t get anywhere”, he added.

Deputy Chief of the US Mission to the European Union, Thomas J. White, emphasised during the Dinner “Transatlantic Innovation Cooperation in a Globalised World” which took place in the Presidential Salon, that cooperation based on mutual understanding by different stakeholders of society is one of the keys for Europe and the transatlantic market zone to continuously prosper and grow.

Mikael Hagström, Chairman, Executive Council, AmCham EU, President, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, SAS Institute, highlighted that both the U.S. and the EU should invest more in IP-related areas and emphasized on the need for skills migration in order to stay competitive on both sides of the Atlantic.

Danuta Hübner, Member of the European Parliament, Chairwoman of the Regional Policy Committee and K4I Forum Governor, stated that “… we first of all need productivity gains. Competitiveness is the motor to sustain growth and generate jobs.” For Mrs. Hübner it is obvious “… that innovation comes as the number one topic on Europe’s growth agenda.”

The speakers’ presentations and the debates in Warsaw and Brussels addressed the important aspects related to the complex concept of innovation. The outcome serves as valuable input for the discussion on the future innovation policies and instruments for Europe. The decisions taken between now and the end of 2012 will set the agenda for many years to come.

The K4I Forum of the European Parliament provides a unique platform for all stakeholders to jointly get involved and help shaping the future of innovation in Europe. Therefore we invite you to join us in our effort to ensure that innovation will be a top priority in the mind of policy makers at all levels.

In the coming weeks K4I members and partners will work on their future priorities and set-up the ‘K4I Action Plan 2012’. You are most welcome to join.


Jos Leijten


Lambert van Nistelrooij

MEP, Chair of the K4I Forum of the European Parliament Governing Board

Roland Strauss

Managing Director