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Crises spur need to bridge the innovation gap in Europe

30th September 2022

As we come together as a community to face new political and economic instability and handle the aftermath of the global pandemic, we must continue to develop and realise the full potential of healthcare innovation across Europe. This requires us to strengthen cross-sectoral collaboration and build more resilient innovation ecosystems.  

On September 21 and 22, we hosted two INNOVEIT events in Paris and Warsaw, respectively. Empowered by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), these events explored how to build adaptive and resilient innovation ecosystems and increase collaboration across Europe. At both events, experts discussed how to ensure ecosystem resilience during times of crisis. 

At the Warsaw event, Yegor Dubynskyi, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation in Ukraine, highlighted the importance of digital resilience: “We are certain that future wars are wars of technologies, and sustainable digitalisation is our common global challenge. We have proven that in cooperation between Ukraine and the Government of Poland, we keep working on shaping the European Union (EU) as the common ground for building digital states. We can have digital resilience only together,” said the Deputy Minister.  

Mr Dubynskyi went on to call for bravery, adaptiveness through innovation, and digital solidarity during crises like the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This echoed the words of Kaspars Rozkalns, Director General of the Investment and Development Agency, who said: “A resilient ecosystem is an ecosystem that can adapt during a crisis. 

But what is it that allows innovation ecosystems to adapt quickly in times of crisis, when resilience is needed most? Speakers at both events emphasised an increased need to connect stakeholders from each side of the knowledge triangle: business, research, and education. 

Andrzej Ryś, Director for Health Systems and Products, DG SANTE, European Commission, noted that the EIT Community is well placed placed to bridge the gap between each side of the knowledge triangle. So that, together with policymakers, we can collaborate to drive real change. 

A powerful example of this collaborative approach in action is EIT Health DRIVE, which received the INNOVEIT Warsaw Prize. It was recognised by the EIT Community as the most impactful programme of the year from an EIT RIS-eligible country. 

“Our mission is to create an environment for innovation in Emerging Europe. There are many ways of developing an innovation ecosystem; therefore, it needs to be done in a well-structured, orchestrated way. With the EIT Health DRIVE initiative, we give comprehensive support to creating Ecosystem Development Strategies and Roadmaps. This is a highly data-driven support programme guided by the methodology developed with TU Delft. As we face uncertainty, we need to know how to use our comparative strengths and set up a new environment where innovators can turn their research or ideas into successful businesses”, said Monika Toth, Director of the EIT Health RIS programme. 

Learn more about fostering collaborative and resilient innovation ecosystems during the final INNOVEIT event: the EIT Summit, in Brussels, on October 11. Find out more about the event 

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