The European University Association welcomes the European Commission’s Communication on A New European Innovation Agenda, notably as an overarching innovation agenda is needed to tackle specific bottlenecks which stunt Europe’s innovation performance, and to achieve consistency and effective implementation of the various tools available for this purpose.
Nevertheless, EUA contends that despite the overall framing of the challenges ahead and the understanding of policies and funding as valuable instruments in this context, the Commission’s Agenda is less effective in outlining concrete steps. This stems from a conceptualisation of innovation which is far too conventional to truly capture what Europe does best as an innovator and to legitimise the most appropriate measures for improving its performance. The relatively few references to the higher education sector in the communication predominantly portray universities as providers of quantifiable inputs to industrial value chains. This reinforces a limited understanding of what universities can do and are already doing for innovation in Europe.