At the occasion of the K4I Forum New Year Reception 2024 we will celebrate 15 years K4I and present Allied4Future (A4F), a global forum dedicated to generating positive impact for a sustainable, circular, and inclusive world with a focus on sustainable finance and climate impact.
The launch will be accompanied by a special Innovators Magazine titled “Shaping the Future - K4I Forum takes green road for future generations” and handed over to our valued K4I members, partners, colleagues and friends from the European Parliament, the Commission and the shakers and makers of the European Innovation Area. At the same time the A4F website will go live.
At the occasion of the K4I Forum New Year Reception 2024 we celebrated 15 years K4I Forum and presented Allied4Future (A4F), a global forum, driving a sustainable, circular, and inclusive future by tackling climate inaction and the climate financing gap.
For the event we produced a special Innovators Magazine titled “Shaping the Future - K4I Forum takes green road for future generations”, featuring the highlights of the K4I Forum in the European Parliament since 2009 as well as an introduction to Allied4Future and the 1st World Future Forum event.
A printed copy of the Magazine has been handed over to our valued K4I members, partners, colleagues and friends from the European Parliament, the European Commission and the shakers and makers of the European Innovation Area.
I would like to welcome all of you to this Reception, to the European Parliament for the Knowledge4Innovation Forum New Year Reception and the celebration of its 15 years. Some of you, I just saw Lambert van Nistelrooij and Paul Rübig, were here also 15 years ago, when I was Principal Advisor of President Barroso, and I remember telling him “We should go to the 1st European Innovation Summit”. And we went together.
The Knowledge4Innovation Forum has always been a leading and thought-inspiring Forum, where policymakers meet stakeholders and innovative businesses, but also institutions like the EIT KICs, the European Partnerships and other networks and actors committed to research and innovation, and this is really a place where we discuss the present, and mainly the future of innovation in Europe.
As the President of Knowledge4Innovation and director European Affairs at TU Delft, I’m proud to share with you our exciting plans for the upcoming year and our pursuit of Knowledge and Innovation.
Looking ahead, two major themes will guide our efforts: the Green Transition and the Digital Revolution. These align with TU Delft values and commitment to addressing complex challenges through pioneering tech.
Looking back and looking forward, it is a key moment tonight. When I look back to where we started, it was the after days of the financial crisis, we were world leaders in fundamental science, but we were not as competitive as the United States.
That was the moment when we decided to launch the K4I Forum, the place for debate on the future of innovation in Europe. And we took everyone on board from member states, universities, applied science and from startups to get them in the bubble.
We found out that what we need in Europe is entrepreneurial thinking. Roland Strauss was always behind us, because you always need people from outside of this wonderful tower who help you to spread the ideas, to bring like-minded people together. And I think that was something what he achieved in a wonderful way.
I would say 15 years is just a startup. What we have to do now is to scale up and we have to educate the politicians, the public servants on how important it is the entrepreneurial thinking to get new taxpayers. Without entrepreneurial thinking, you don't get taxpayers and taxpayers are the backbone of the society.
I started a bit over two years ago working with the European Innovation Council. We just renewed the board and I'll continue to be on the board until beginning 2026. And what I like about it is that we're trying to speed up.
The time between rounds and time from research to getting to companies to scale up companies just takes so much time.
On the other hand, it actually needs patience, because some technologies need up to 18 years to exit to the market, while the normal funds seek results in maximum 10 years. So, on one hand we have to speed up and on the other hand we have to make sure that there's enough patient capital so that all initiatives grow out as part of the entrepreneur’s journey.
At COP28, we partnered with K4I and Allied4Future to present and co-host an event in the Italian pavilion on food systems and the importance of the Green Deal.
We are facing all the backlash, all the contradictions of trying to pilot a new economic model for a post-fossil industry and economy without having changed the fundamental rules. That's the problem.
Mario Draghi repeatedly outlined this new landscape - one that responds to the urgency of climate change and enhances the capacity of the global financial system to mobilise "tens of trillions". But it requires a fundamentally new role and new rules for multilateral development banks and international development finance institutions, especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
To paraphrase him, we can say that money is not the problem, we do have plenty of money.
This is where the IMF’s SDRs can play a role to meet the challenges of the ecological transition but we need new rules for the green economy, new rules for a post-fossil world.
The network of Associated and Candidate Countries can play a great role in the EU, contributing to Europe’s global competitiveness.
There is a great knowledge and production capacity in this region with affordable prices.
In terms of science and innovation, the Green Deal and the Digital Transition, especially AI, there is a huge need for candidate countries to get in line with the goals of the EU and the European Commission.
Allow me to start with a Chinese saying: “If you want to go fast, go on your own. If you want to go far, make yourself accompanying by other people”. That's what we do here. We are making sure that we are accompanying each other on creating a better future.
My main role here is to invite you all to join us on 26 and 27 of September at Taguspark – Knowledge City, in the outskirts of Lisbon. In a very beautiful place. We call ourselves the most civic park in Europe.
It's a beautiful place in a beautiful country to start once again thinking about the future, to start joining efforts for a better future to make sure we find new business, new startups, new business angels that might invest in new ideas, because we need to create a better future for the next generations.