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.
Glasses that translate images of physical objects into soundscapes and a belt that turns images into vibrations are helping blind people build up a real-time 3D picture of the world around them, and the technology could hit the market as soon as next year.
Entrepreneurship in Eastern Europe is on the rise, but more better communication about the funding available from the EU would help it to grow further, says Kristina Tsvetanova, the US-based co-founder and CEO of blind-accessible tablet start-up Blitab, and a 2017 winner of the EU Prize for Women Innovators.
High-risk, high-reward ideas in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and synthetic biology are typical contenders for support from the EU’s new European Innovation Council (EIC), which aims to help European innovators and entrepreneurs scale up their ideas internationally, according to Dr Hermann Hauser, serial entrepreneur, who is a founding partner of Amadeus Capital and founder of ARM in the UK.He heads up the EIC advisory board, which on 20 November published their first set of recommendations for the future direction of the EIC.
Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, has called for political leaders to speak more about science and innovation to connect people with the life-changing research that is funded by their taxes and has the potential to combat urgent global problems.
Paris, France, has been named 2017's European Capital of Innovation thanks to an 'inclusive innovation strategy', which saw it scoop the EUR 1 million first prize in the EU's iCapital awards. The awards, which are designed to recognise the most innovative cities in EU countries and those associated to the Horizon 2020 funding programme, were announced on 7 November at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. Two runner-up prizes of EUR 100 000 were awarded to Tallin, Estonia and Tel Aviv, Israel, and the prize money will be used to scale up and further expand the cities' innovation efforts.
Herbivorous insects are estimated to be responsible for destroying one-fifth of the world's total crop production annually, but a new, natural approach to pesticides that turns insects' taste and smell preferences against them could help reduce this toll.
Innovation should be taught as a subject in European schools, according to Tibor Navracsics, the EU’s Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, who says that education can be a defining factor in the life of young scientists.
A miniaturised heart implant is one of the most promising ways in which scientists are hoping to tackle cardiovascular disease, the world’s biggest killer, which claims the lives of almost 2 million people every year in the EU alone.
Police and law enforcement staff are turning to hackathons – collaborative events for developing technology – to come up with new ways of searching for clues within the terabytes of data that many people produce every year.
How plant genetics and data science helped doctors replace 80 % of a boy’s skin.
Solar-powered irrigation could offset 16 mn tonnes of CO2 a year.
A new device to monitor so-called ultradian rhythms could speed up diagnostics.