Experts debate in Brussels how the future Competitiveness and Innovation Programme should be shaped

Under the title “Ready to grow?, the European Commission has gathered together on 25 January, a important panel of experts and representatives from business and innovation agencies from all Europe in order to debate over the future of Competitiveness and Innovation Programme. This Conference is part of the series of actions aimed to determine future approaches and actions to be in place within a programme which is primarily focused on supporting innovative European SMEs.

The current EU Programme for Innovation and Competitiveness (CIP) will come to an end in 2013, and for that reason the European Commission is now preparing the action lines and priorities which are to be the base for its successor. For this purpose, representatives form companies and innovation agencies, as well as many other stakeholders were invited by the European Commission to the Conference taking place in Brussels on 25 January under the title “Ready to grow?”, with the aim to define the main strategies regarding future of CIP.

This conference aimed to answer some key questions such as identifying the best ways to improve the instruments currently in place in order to help business to boost competitiveness and innovation. The Commission is now considering how it would possible to improve mechanisms to give better access to finance, improving access to business and innovation business support services or support to the uptake of innovative and interoperable ICT based services.

Participants also debated over the main challenges faced by business at the moment and what are the cornerstones on which the Commission should focus to promote businesses growth. The European Commission aims at identifying the areas which should be strengthened within the CIP in order to meet that purpose, and whether there are any specific field which should be covered and has not been yet.

Finally, the Conference also debated on what should be the link between EU support to research and its support for competitiveness and innovation.

The conference also counted with a parallel exhibition which showcased the achievement of the CIP so far and allowed participants to discuss with the respective Commission services current policy orientations and available funding opportunities. Further to this Conference and exhibition, the European Commission also launched a public consultation in November 2010 in order to seek for the opinions of all stakeholders regarding the future of CIP Programme.