Europe is faced with a number of major societal challenges such as an ageing population, the effects of climate change, and reduced availability of resources.
Given the scale and urgency of the societal challenges and the scarcity of resources, Europe cannot afford any longer the current fragmentation of effort and slow pace of change. Efforts and expertise on research and innovation must be pooled and critical mass achieved. At the same time, we must from the outset put in place the conditions which allow breakthroughs quickly to find their way to the market, thereby bringing rapid benefits to citizens and competitiveness gains.
Moreover, European research and innovation systems present clear weaknesses mainly due to framework conditions which are not innovation-friendly: private investment in research and innovation is being held back and ideas prevented from reaching the market by poor availability of finance, costly patenting, market fragmentation, outdated regulations and procedures, slow standard-setting and the failure to use public procurement strategically.
The European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) represent a new approach to EU research and innovation which is challenge-driven, result-oriented and politically-driven with its origins in the Europe 2020 strategy. The objectives of the EIPs are twofold: addressing societal challenges and, in doing so, enhancing Europe's competitiveness. Through EIPs, the EU aims to:
- remove barriers in the chain between research and bringing innovation to the market;
- define a common vision and mobilise resources to achieve breakthroughs more rapidly;
- considerably reduce time to market of research and innovation breakthroughs;
- overcome fragmentation of efforts and reduce complexity.
European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) are launched to accelerate research, development and market deployment of innovations to tackle major societal challenges, pool expertise and resources and boost the competitiveness of EU industry.
Specific objectives of the pilot EIP AHA:
The target of the pilot EIP on active and healthy aging (AHA) is to increase by 2 the average number of healthy life years in the EU by 2020, by securing a triple win for Europe:
- improve the health status and quality of life of European citizens with a particular focus on older people;
- support the long-term sustainability and efficiency of health and social care systems;
- to enhance the competitiveness of EU industry through an improved business environment providing the foundations for growth and expansion of new markets.
As EIPs is a novel concept, it has first been tested through a pilot EIP. Reflecting its societal importance, state of preparedness and representativeness of the EIP concept, a pilot on active and healthy ageing has been launched.
After the test phase, the Commission will present proposals to the other EU institutions for other EIPs.
EIP governance arrangements should balance the need for high level commitment and functional coordination, with strong decentralised operational responsibilities to ensure effective ownership by practitioners and other key stakeholders. Membership needs to reflect the integrated approach so that stakeholders dealing with different elements of the supply-demand continuum are adequately represented. Each EIP should be led by a representative Steering Board who will need to bring a major commitment to realise the aims of the EIP. The Steering Board will draw up a Strategic Implementation Plan for the EIP.
At EU level, the Commission will work closely with Council and Parliament, to secure strong political support both for the aims and direction of each partnership as well as to speed up the delivery of the necessary regulatory framework.
EIPs are a new approach to EU research and innovation. They are challenge-driven, focusing on societal benefits and a rapid modernisation of the associated sectors and markets. They act across the whole research and innovation chain, and they streamline, simplify and better coordinate existing instruments and initiatives and complement them with new actions where necessary.
EIPs are launched only in areas, and consist only of activities, in which government intervention is clearly justified and where combining EU, national and regional efforts in R&D and demand-side measures will achieve the target quicker and more efficiently.