Innovation for Growth and Development in Europe
The First Action Plan for Innovation in Europe proposes three main priorities:
-- promoting a true culture for innovation in both the economy and in society at large
-- more effective links between research and innovation
Fostering a culture likely to stimulate innovation depends on substantial improvements, and in some cases a change of attitude, in education and training; better mobility of students, teachers, engineers and research workers; public awareness; business management; and in the role of the public authorities.
Education and training
The commission is calling on member states, regional and local authorities to examine their education methods to assess how well they are geared to promoting the abilities needed for innovation (creativity, communications, skill at using information, teamwork etc). The national bodies are also asked to look into developing sandwich courses at the tertiary level, to encourage the effective knowledge of several community languages, and to develop long-term relationships between companies and training bodies. For its own contribution, the Commission is planning to introduce a European apprenticeship scheme and to promote telecommunications links between schools throughout Europe.
The role of public authorities
Public spending is the major component of GDP in several member states, so improving performance by innovation within central and regional government departments and bodies would have a direct economic benefit for companies.
Invitations to tender for public contract should encourage innovative approaches or new manufacturing processes, while ensuring full and open competition.
Furthermore, public authorities should be monitoring and analysing the development of new systems and policies. Exchange of information and experience with other member states is vital. The commission therefore intends to support a harmonised statistical database. It also intends to develop an analysis of management trends, comparing European performance with the rest of the world. Regular reports will be issued.