In our last blog we looked at what Horizon 2020 will mean for ICT and Flexiant.  Today, we focus on the Europe 2020 agenda and how it supports research and innovation in EU organizations.  These initiatives are not part of the H2020 work programme but contain essential knowledge of EU strategy and goals essential for mapping to H2020. Europe 2020 is the EU growth for the next 10 years and contains 5 objectives on employment, innovation, education, social inclusion and climate/energy. There are several initiatives identified to try and meet these objectives, the most relevant for Flexiant and ICT involvement in H2020 being:

Europe 2020

1. Industrial Policy

An industrial policy for the whole of Europe is a hard thing to get right, but Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission puts it pretty succinctly when he states:
“Europe needs industry and industry needs Europe. We must tap into the full potential of the Single Market, its 500 million consumers and its 20 million entrepreneurs.”

Flexiant agree with Antonio, and recognise that as an entrepreneurial SME, tapping into valuable European research, allows us to benefit from expertise from others as well as sharing our own to help us continue with our technological innovation.
For an idea of what role Industrial Leadership will play in Horizon 2020, take a look at our recent blog on The Three Pillars of Horizon 2020.

2. Smart, Sustainable Research

In a nutshell, Europe 2020 is about delivering growth. Not just any old growth though, but smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is hoped that through more effective investments in education, research and innovation Europe 2020 research can be considered “smart”. Flexiant welcome the initiative and the need for H2020 project output to make a tangible difference. Our continuing plans to link research as closely as possible to the needs of the marketplace and service providers is a great example of this in action.

3. The Innovation Union

Where world-class science leverages the removal of ‘obstacles to innovation’ (improving skills, setting standards, improving time to market) and encourages the public and private sector to work together. It is widely accepted that investments in research and innovation are driving long-term growth. The rate of return for publicly funded Research and Design is considered high and so here the EU hopes that Innovation can drive economic recovery. There are some compelling statistics proving Research and Innovation funding is linked to the recovery, so they may be on to something here.  Removing barriers to entry in cloud adoption is an area of much focus and discussion here at Flexiant and we believe that through EU collaboration we are better placed to not only enhance our understanding of the challenges, but to convert these challenges into working solutions for the service provider market.

4. The Digital Agenda for Europe

This is the EU strategy to encourage digital and online services.  They aim to break barriers to entry, encourage a single market, champion interoperability and standards, propose solutions for trust and security, upgrade internet capabilities, focus on research and innovation, and improve on developing skills. All of these things are important to the Service Provider because they are enabling them to provide even better differentiated cloud services. We worked with the Digital Agenda team at Cloudscape last year and they have some genuinely exciting ideas about making standardisation, and crucially exploitation, work even better for EC research and innovation projects.

5. Agenda for New Skills and Jobs

This initiative is how the Commission proposes to help the EU reach its employment target for 2020, and is a culmination of the efforts of the previous initiatives, which represent the goals of the Horizon 2020 collaborative projects.  SMEs who are innovating and differentiating in their sector with a well-organised plan for collaborating with relevant research specialists can benefit from the focus on creating highly skilled employment opportunities.

If you’re interested in learning more about how EU initiatives are designed to work with your organisational aspirations then be sure to take a look at the five key targets that the EU has set for 2020.

It’s clear that the Horizon 2020 strategy is grounded in the reality of emerging technologies leading the way in economic growth through innovation. Our participation in the projects will take crucial research and build this into our development of FCO. In our next blog we will take a closer look at just what Horizon 2020 can offer for the aspiring SME.

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