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Today, the Council of the European Union adopted Conclusions on the New European Innovation Agenda. The European University Association (EUA) welcomes this decision and notes the emphasis on a broader range of innovation processes and stakeholders that should have been included in the Agenda from the outset.

Following the launch of the European Commission’s Communication on A New European Innovation Agenda in July, EUA expressed misgivings regarding a narrow conceptualisation of innovation which was far too conventional to truly capture what Europe does best as an innovator. Focusing predominantly on deep tech start-ups and their financing, the Communication was a missed opportunity to frame innovation as a process driven by co-creation, rather than as an outcome driven by technical solutions. Moreover, it obscured the driving role of universities in connecting different knowledge communities, different sectors and the many disciplines providing novel ideas with transformative

With the Council Conclusions now adopted, EUA sees a new opportunity to acknowledge the diverse assets of the European innovation landscape and find ways to further support them. Whether in terms of improved framework conditions for researchers and innovators, enabling student and staff entrepreneurship and cross-sectoral mobility, or further pursuing excellence in fundamental research, the Council Conclusions rightfully pinpoint the many facets of universities’ innovation mission. As documented in EUA’s 2022 innovation survey report, universities are ideal environments to tackle the green and digital transitions by bringing diverse disciplines together. Perspectives from the Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts are just as likely to help unleash Europe’s innovative potential as more technological solutions, especially when channelled through social innovation and involvement with local communities.

EUA stands ready to contribute to the implementation of the New European Innovation Agenda along the lines proposed by the Council. The Association will continue to advocate for a comprehensive understanding of innovation and for capacity building across the entire innovation ecosystem.

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