On the road to a smarter Europe and the fourth industrial revolution

A reinforced European ecosystem for industrial innovation

Amsterdam, 23 June 2016 - Today, during the European conference Industrial Technologies 2016, António Vicente, Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Carlos Moedas, was handed the Policy Recommendations named the Amsterdam declaration ‘Creating a Smart Europe’ by Rob Karsmakers on behalf of the Advisory Board of the conference. The main objective of these policy recommendations is to speed up the arrival of a fourth European industrial revolution. Closer European collaborations are vital to achieving this goal. The theme of this year’s conference, which is being staged under the Dutch EU presidency, will be ‘Creating a smart Europe’ and will mainly focus on topics in the areas of nanotechnology, digitization and biotechnology.

Europe needs to take steps now

A strategic European industrial agenda is needed in order to usher in a fourth industrial revolution and to stay ahead of other regions. A smart and future-proof agenda is also important when it comes to Europe’s competitive position, the labour market, welfare and other societal challenges. The agenda serves to support the transformation to a new industrial landscape characterized by connected industries, new innovative business models and the integration of IT into processes and products.

Four action-oriented key themes

The policy recommendations include four key themes in which issues and challenges are linked to actions:

  1. A strong and efficient system for open innovation.
    - Social acceptance of new industrial technologies is necessary. To this end, the industry as a whole is called on to demonstrate the effects of these technologies, which have a positive effect on society.
    - There are currently disparities within Europe in terms of innovation. Knowledge sharing is therefore vital and should be encouraged.
  2. A favourable environment for innovation
    - Today’s societal issues are the markets of tomorrow. This is why industries must join forces to not only identify new developments and trends, but obstacles as well.
    - In order to introduce industrial technologies to the market on time, better conditions for innovations are required, such as improved funding. This is why the European Commission must develop a strategy for a more favourable investment climate.
  3. Promoting talent and skills for innovation
    Industrial technologies create opportunities, but skills and expertise are needed in order to make full use of these opportunities. The European Commission must work with schools and universities to promote academic exchange, to help students develop entrepreneurial skills and to promote female participation in science, technology and engineering programmes.
  4. Effective innovation policy and legislation
    - New technology and innovations bring new challenges when it comes laws and regulations. Legislation regarding the field of technology must therefore be future-proof and neutral.  When European policy is shaped, its impact on research and innovation has to be taken into account.
    - The recommendations indicate that there is a lack of resolve to overcome obstacles to innovation. Member States are called upon to appoint a Chief Technology Officer who is responsible for innovation at the local and/or regional level and who ensures coherence between technological developments and societal needs.   

Download the Policy Recommandations

The complete Policy Recommendations can be accessed on this website.