05 / 10 / 2021
Since last summer, the EU top officials are visiting key Technology Infrastructures of two of the biggest European RTOs and EARTO Members, imec (Belgium) and VTT (Finland). More specifically, the European Commission (EC)’s President, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, visited the premises of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland on 4 October, one day after the EC’s endorsement of the Finnish Recovery & Resilience Plan. The EC President visited VTT’s quantum lab, stating that “Finland’s recovery plan will boost Finnish excellence in innovation, with investments in AI, 6G and microelectronics. We are proud to support Europe’s journey towards technological leadership”. In parallel, the Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age and Competition, Ms Margrethe Vestager, as well as the European Commissioner for Internal Marker, Mr Thierry Breton, visited imec in Belgium on 16 July and 11 June. Ms Vestager visited imec’s world leading R&D facility for breakthrough nano-electronics and digital technology, indicating that “imec has a strong role to play to boost Europe’s competitiveness and to strengthen EU’s strengths for digital technology and semiconductors”. One month earlier, imec also welcomed Mr Breton, who visited imec’s cleanroom, home of the world’s most advanced independent R&D pilot line, and discussing Europe’s way forward to secure advanced semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.
Technology Infrastructures (including demonstrators, testbeds, piloting facilities, living labs, etc.), being the backbone of dynamic RD&I ecosystems and stable innovation-driven value chains, support technology development and co-creation from proof of concept and validation in labs to prototype demonstration in industrial environment, with the aim to ensure technology uptake with high socio-economic impact. RTOs and especially EARTO Members, 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.