November 9, 2020 – The impact of innovation on regional development was discussed at the WIRE Conference 2020, which was held for the first time online.
The Faculty of Economics in Split was a host to the most significant international convention dedicated to innovations and regional development, “Week of Innovative Regions in Europe – WIRE 2020”. The main topic at the conference was the impact of innovations on the development of regions, with special reference to opportunities innovations can bring to less developed regions and their significance for recovery of the corona crisis.
Source: WIRE Conference 2020
Croatia recognizes the importance of R&D investment
“This conference is taking place in the right moment because the European Commission is coming close to an end with developing the program Horizon Europe, which is the basis for the strengthening of European research areas. As a part of that program, among others, the idea is to start the platform which will gather experts of European universities, who will exchange ideas and learn from one another all in one place,” general director of the European Commission Board for research and innovations Jean-Eric Paquet has stated and emphasized how every region of the EU plays a significant role in promotion and development of innovations.
Paquet has pointed out how European Union invests more in the development of start-ups than the USA on the annual level and that Croatia for the past few years recognizes the importance of investment in research and development as a lever for the economic prosperity of the region. He emphasized how all national governments inside the EU, and especially local communities, should invest additional efforts in the development of the R&D system, with a special outline on excellence.
The goal of the European Union is, on an individual member state level, to achieve investments of over 3% of national GDP to research and innovations, what is, for now, the case only in Finland and Sweden. By encouraging education in STEM fields, the preconditions are made for the development and appliance of innovative solutions.
The importance of investments
Representatives of the European Commission, experts from several European universities and scientific institutions, the most successful representatives of the European business community, and local and regional self-government have all agreed that quality governance is key to implementing EU policies and facilitating access to excellence, with special emphasis on remote regions.
“The European Union needs to invest more in innovation if it wants to be competitive. However, reaching the target of three percent of the national GDP for investment in innovation research has become more difficult to achieve due to the corona crisis. It is, therefore, necessary to give due importance and support to the spread of innovation within the EU, as opposed to the current focus on research excellence,” said Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics.
Source: WIRE Conference 2020
The conference has been opened by the Croatian Minister of Science and Education Radovan Fuchs, who pointed out the importance of mobility of scientists, individuals, and companies and emphasized the need for necessary reduction of the gap between certain countries.
Reducing of difference in the degree of innovations between countries starts in the local environment, through universities, and then by using different programs and financial resources of the European Union – has been pointed out at the conference. It is necessary to focus on regional differences through the opening of different hubs which will strengthen up innovational ecosystem, whereas connecting stronger members of the EU with those less developed will contribute to creating new innovations.
A 10-year tradition
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the conference was held online for the first time. It gathered more than 700 participants and over 60 lecturers, experts from different European universities and scientific institutions, but also the most successful representatives of the European business community and local and regional self-government.
Since 2010, the WIRE Conference annually gathers stakeholders from the research and innovations sector, creators of the European Union’s politics, regional and national authorities, centers of knowledge, clusters, innovative companies, and all other stakeholders that develop or want to develop innovations to improve the community they are living in.
The conference is organized with support from the European Commission, General Administration for Research and Innovations, Ministry of Science and Education, Split-Dalmatia County, and the City of Split.