“In 30 years we have invested over 200 billion euro in science and innovation in Europe”, said , EU commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, with the occasion of the EP Conference “EU Research and Innovation in our Daily Life”.
The commissioner decried the fact that the impact of these investments are visible enough for the general public. “Sometimes I think it’s just like the EU itself; it’s just as the former Ambassador to the EU Anthony Gardner said: ‘The EU is like a window, you only realize it’s there when there’s a crack or dirt. But it always protects you from the wind & cold.’”
In fact, many lives have been changed because of these investments, and many more will be improved, as the research and innovation projects will become more and more part of our everyday lives.
In the opening plenary of the conference, , from San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy, presented how research supported by Eu funds made possible to advance in treating ADA deficiency; the treatment is now on the right track to gain private support and enter the market.
In the panel dedicated to sustainable environment two energy related projects were presented.
One of them was EVALUATE project, aiming at improving the measurement, monitoring, sharing of knowledge and best practices on energy poverty from local to European level. “Such data could be crucial for global policy in helping us to understand how future urban transitions – such as the change to a low carbon energy supply – could play out for household consumers and urban systems alike”, made it clear . He also pointed out that “energy poverty is distinct from income poverty”, and that there is a clear energy divide throughout Europe, with Northern and Central Europe in somehow a better situation, while the Iberian Peninsula and the Eastern Europe are the areas with most people suffering. „Giving more money to people does not solve the problem, because it is more about structural changes in the economy”, also said Stefan Bouzarovski.
The second, presented by (Denmark), was the E-FERRY project, by which electric ferries and digital communication between ships could help to decarbonize maritime transport. The first 100 % electric-powered medium range passenger and vehicle ferry will use a new modular, lithium-ion battery system, starting by early 2019. E-ferry is a project co-funded by the EC under the H2020 Research and Innovation program, started in 2015, with a total cost of 21,3 million euro (15 million euro in EU funding). “The objective beyond the project duration is to reach a level of approximately 10 more E-ferries in operation in Europe and worldwide every year reaching a total of 10 or more by 2020, 100 or more by 2030 thus saving (in rough figures) 10-30,000 tons of CO2 annually by 2020 and 100-300,000 tons of CO2 annually by 2030”, writes the official website of the project.
Last year, more than 60% of completed projects funded by the European Research Council (ERC) were considered major scientific breakthroughs, writes the EU website, and also adds another number: more than 80 EU scientists and researchers were Nobel Prize laureates over the last 10 years. The Eastern EU countries lag behind in terms of their contributions, and some of this situation was influenced by the manner in which the qualification criteria for the projects in the Horizon 2020 scheme were defined. Romanian MP mentioned that putting background in the forefront of project selection process effectively kept many candidates from the Eastern Europe outside of the Horizon 2020 program.