Building the European Smart Valley for SMEs:
From research to private investment
COWIN organised a Reception and a Breakfast debate, in cooperation with Knowledge4Innovation, in the European Parliament on 17-18 March 2014.
The event, hosted by Ms Teresa Riera Madurell, MEP, Rapporteur for Horizon 2020, presented the successful activities of COWIN and culminated in an award ceremony to honour the most successful young entrepreneurs in the field of smart systems. Read below the welcoming speech of Ms Teresa Riera Madurell.
"It is a great pleasure for me, to host this important breakfast-debate today here in the European Parliament. I really thank Knowledge for Innovation for its support, as well as all the other partners: Yole Finance and Development, Euripides, Zabala and Tartu Biotechnology Park
We are here today to discuss about COWIN, which is, as you well know, a support action that targets one of the main present challenges to our science and innovation system: to bridge the gap of the so-called Valley of Death, where public research grants end and support is needed to translate research results into commercial solutions. COWIN has been working to fill this gap. It has been working to allow the commercial exploitation of advanced technologies, coming from collaborative European research projects.
As rapporteur of Horizon 2020 in the European Parliament, I can tell you that addressing the Valley of Death has been one of our main concerns. Of course to support fundamental research, was for us extremely important, as we are convinced that frontier research is the basis that sustains the whole innovation system. However, as you all know, Horizon 2020, is the framework program that covers, for the first time, the whole innovation chain, giving support to projects that goes from academia, this is from basic research, to innovative market products and services.
COWIN fits perfectly in this new approach. The importance of COWIN lays on providing research institutions and partners with individual support to reach maturity for further investment.
And, seen from the other side, COWIN offers industrial companies and especially SMEs, the opportunity to have access to research results coming from collaborative research and exploit them in the market. This is always, for sure, clearly a win-win situation.
Let me make and additional comment: as you are aware, budgetary cuts are affecting research and innovation all over Europe. Member States have also imposed a cut in the budget of Horizon 2020. Faced with this situation, we need to take advantage of all resources available. In that sense, private money leverage is extremely important. And here, COWIN plays another crucial role, by facilitating the interaction between public and private investment. COWIN helps private investors to identify added-value technologies and spin-offs to invest in, and this is crucial.
Therefore, COWIN partners are doing a very important job by putting their technical and market expertise at the service of researchers, industry and investors and by identifying business and investment opportunities.
Until now, COWIN has received support from the 7th Framework Programme in order to optimize the use of research results coming from this framework programme, the 7Th, and also from the previous one, the 6th Framework programme.
And I am sure it should continue to receive full support in the future!
And just before giving the floor to the partners of COWIN, as they can explain better than me the success of the initiative, let me expressing my hope that COWIN continues to work under the new Horizon 2020 as we need, more than ever, initiatives like this one, initiatives as COWIN, than have to help Europe to leave behind the Valley of Death of our innovation chain.
Thank you very much for your attendance. I am sure we will have an extremely enriching debate today."
Ms Teresa Riera Madurell,
MEP, Rapporteur for Horizon 2020
More information about this event here