Research and innovation are essential for a successful, modern economy, and they are at the heart of the European Commission's policies to boost jobs, growth and investment. However, while Europe excels in research, we are not good enough at investing in innovation at speed and scale, which is why the EU’s Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, has set the goal of Open Innovation. The basic premise is to open up the innovation process to all active players so that new ideas can circulate more freely and be transformed into products and services that create new markets, fostering a stronger culture of entrepreneurship.
Video games that are specifically designed to test and improve children’s social and emotional skills could enable parents and teachers to spot issues and help children improve their behaviour and performance at school as well as in later life.
Socially focused innovators across Europe have called on the European Union to put innovation at the heart of its strategy to achieve a ‘social triple A rating’– an ambition set out by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in 2014 to give greater prominence to the bloc’s social priorities.
Athens, Greece has been named the 2018 European Capital of Innovation for the innovative ways in which it has overcome social and economic challenges and turned them into new opportunities. The €1 million iCapital first prize was announced at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal on 6 November, with five other European cities receiving runner-up prizes of €100,000.'Athens has shown a new dimension to what we mean by innovation. It is not only for the powerful, well-resourced and prosperous cities, it is for everyone,' said Athens' mayor Georgios Kaminis, when the award was announced.Last year's iCapital winner was Paris, France.
Bill Gates and the European Commission have launched a €100 million investment fund designed to bring radical clean energy technologies more quickly to market in order to promote energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
'Invasive and uncomfortable' procedures for detecting if someone has bladder cancer could be replaced by urine tests that not only screen for the presence of the disease but also help doctors choose the right course of treatment for a particular patient.
A fashion collection made from the remains of grapes from the wine industry and plastic made from chicken feathers are two new twists on the practice of making new products from waste, and a growing demand for sustainability from consumers mean there could be a ready market for this type of innovation.
Regenerative medicine should be governed, firstly, by the principle of do no harm, but a better balance between risk and regulation is required to bring innovations to market more quickly, according to Ton Rabelink, professor of internal medicine and head of nephrology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He says that Europe is in danger of falling behind countries such as Japan and the US if there is not more flexibility in how new therapies are regulated.
Dr Gabriella Colucci, the founder of two biotechnology companies that discover new plant-based molecules for industrial use, has won the top award of €100,000 in the 2018 EU Prize for Women Innovators, which was presented at a ceremony in Brussels, Belgium on 21 June.
The pioneering solar flight foundation Solar Impulse has launched an ‘Efficient Solution’ label for clean energy start-ups and innovations that can demonstrate their profitability, in a bid to boost investment in the sector.
Since the mid-1980s, the number of bees in Europe has been in decline. Threatened by pesticides, insecticides and climate change, they are also being struck by infestations of mites and a crippling virus that deforms their wings. But new technology aims to take the sting out of the situation.
Scientists are investigating the link between gut bacteria and ageing.
Their ageing rates might teach us how to grow old gracefully, too.
We are entering a second era of lunar exploration, says ESA’s Dr David Parker.