31 / 07 / 2020

EARTO Paper – Setting-up a European Strategy for Technology Infrastructures

Europe has high ambitions: boosting its economic competitiveness and prosperity, achieving the twin transition to a green and digital industry and society, building Europe’s resilience and technology sovereignty in key European ecosystems and value chains to meet the needs of EU citizens. The ability for Europe to fulfil such ambitions largely depends on Research, Development and Innovation. In this context, securing an easy access for industry to state-of-the-art Technology Infrastructures (TIs) is essential.   Technology Infrastructures are the backbone of dynamic RD&I ecosystems. They foster collaboration between companies and public RD&I organisations, essential to develop technology and high value-added solutions. Industry depends on the availability of TIs for validation, prototyping and upscaling before they can enter the market with new solutions. TIs require a lot of resources and competences to build, manage, operate and maintain: most companies cannot afford to have their own. Accordingly, Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs), often in collaboration with other RD&I stakeholders, have since long taken the role of supporting industrial value chains by hosting complex large-scale technology infrastructures and providing an open access to industry of all sizes.   Today, there is a critical momentum for the EU together with Member States to be more ambitious and to jointly develop a European Strategy for Technology Infrastructures with relevant stakeholders (including both the providers and the users of such facilities), boosting technology co-creation, scale-up and diffusion across Europe. EARTO hereby puts forward a set of recommendations to contribute to the set-up and efficient implementation of a new EU Strategy for Technology Infrastructures:  
  • Recommendation 1: Prioritise technology infrastructures in new EU and national policies, including in the new European Research Area (ERA) strategy, and make the key role they have in EU RD&I ecosystems more visible at EU level, by: (1) linking all existing policy initiatives to the new European Strategy for Technology Infrastructures, (2) setting-up a governance model to steer such strategy, (3) adopting a common definition for technology infrastructures at EU level and harmonising the existing EU mapping and repositories based on such definition.
  • Recommendation 2: Ensure the creation and long-term sustainability of the necessary technology infrastructures at EU level, by: (1) increasing cooperation and coordination between Member States at EU level and fostering a strategic foresight dialogue between the EC, Member-States and technology infrastructures’ users and providers, (2) developing new public-private financing models to leverage investments while ensuring the right regulatory framework at EU level, and (3) facilitating access to EU Instruments and synergies of funds at all levels.
  • Recommendation 3: Support pan-European access to technology infrastructures by companies of all sizes to leverage their innovation capabilities, by: (1) boosting their use in EU projects and (2) supporting the creation of EU thematic networks of technology infrastructures.
  EARTO remains at the disposal of the EU institutions to further discuss these recommendations and support the set-up of this new European Strategy for Technology Infrastructures.   Read the full EARTO Paper