Mr Potocnik addressed the Seminar of Industrial Leaders of European Technology Platforms and Associated Representatives of National Authorities in Brussels. He thanked the delegates for their input so far, especially in writing common visions and setting out Strategic Research Agendas.
He told the assembled delegates that the Technology Platform initiatives had strong support throughout the EU. "I can testify to a great level of commitment to European Technology Platforms right across the European institutions. This is not a surprise to me," he said. "Technology platforms are a competitive advantage for Europe in boosting our natural competitiveness," he said.
The Commissioner explained that he wanted to ensure that Technology Platforms contribute to 'lead market initiatives'. This initiative was first mooted at the Hampton Court summit in October 2005, which led to the expert group report on innovation, led by former Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho. This report placed an emphasis on developing lead markets.
Technology Platforms were identified as key areas to maintain a competitive advantage for Europe, in "creating and exploiting innovation-friendly markets through the setting of research and innovation strategies at European level", he said.
Commissioner Potocnik identified four areas where Technology Platforms will help:
- defining standards and high technical levels, as was done with the development of GSM;
- public procurement to demand innovative products;
- harmonised regulation to ensure a true single market;
- intellectual property rights to ensure legal certainty.
"I call upon you, as companies, customers and regulators, to help us identify where the main obstacles and opportunities lie. In other words, you can help us anticipate future market needs and determine what needs to be done to realise these lead markets," he said.
The Commissioner stated that developing lead markets will help to increase the impact of the seventh Framework Programme (FP7), which will launch in early 2007. He also insisted on feedback. "Based on information we will receive from you - and from a wider consultation of stakeholders - the Commission services will identify some areas where we could take action and create conditions that promote technology-based innovation," or market opportunities which can be transformed into lead markets.
"With your guidance and support, Europe can achieve a world-leading position in driving markets for innovative goods and services and excellence in research in new technologies," he said.
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