The European Commission, led by the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas, continues to explore a possible European Innovation Council (EIC). Last month the Commission released a Call for Ideas, a (relatively) informal survey where stakeholders can provide input on what they see as the challenges facing Europe with respect to supporting innovation. Participants may simply answer the survey questions, or they can also upload a white paper or similar document outlining their ideas for what an EIC might resemble.
As Commissioner Moedas notes in this question and answer session at this year’s Science|Business Horizon 2020 Conference, the idea of an EIC has been circulating for some time. I suspect the levels of risk involved in the kind of investment an EIC may support pose the biggest challenges in forming such a venture, but without a formalised conversation around what an EIC might be, identifying and articulating those risks won’t happen to the extent that would be required for a government to make a decision on how it would be involved.
Personally, while the language around the initial discussions of an EIC suggest parallels to the European Research Council, I think it unlikely that there will be much overlap between the two. Commissioner Moedas has emphasized the need for collaboration and better coordination of existing support mechanisms in generating startups and market-creating kinds of innovation. With fundamentally different kinds of output, different organizations seem likely.
Submissions to the Call for Ideas are being accepted until April 29. Submissions may be posted on the call’s webpage, and the material submitted will generate a response from the Commissioner (or his staff) in June.