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.
From eliminating checkout queues to potentially cutting counterfeiting and even terrorist financing, the rise of cash-free payment systems might not only change the way most of us pay but even pave the way to a cashless society.
Getting to the airport without delay, choosing the fastest-moving queue at security and taking the quickest route to your gate may soon be par for the course for airline travellers thanks to technology that uses personalised data and crowd simulations to streamline people’s journeys from their home to the gate.
Billions of tonnes of water are swept up and down Europe’s estuaries and coastlines each and every day. Engineers have been working hard to develop the technologies to tap into this vast store of tidal energy and are now predicting a ramp-up in production from 2020 onwards.
Space will soon be within the grasp of everyday people, small countries, researchers or start-up companies thanks to a fleet of low-cost launch vehicles under development across Europe.
The energy sector could see a revolution along the same lines as the digital sector, but we first need to scale up breakthrough technologies and train more experts in areas such as smart grids, storage and renewables, according to Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, in charge of Energy Union.
Scientists have found a way of producing electricity and fuel for cars from bacteria and green algae, and scaling up these techniques could create a reliable source of renewable energy that could be used as an alternative to fossil fuels.
From fungal spore spray to insect egg dispensers, unleashing an army of living enemies on crops to keep pests and diseases in check may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it’s part of a more natural approach to agriculture, designed to decrease reliance on chemicals.
The increase is partly driven by climate challenges.
Neuroimaging techniques are helping us read the pictures in our heads.
There is unlimited kinetic energy all around us and harnessing it could change the way we interact with the world, says Dr Gonzalo Murillo.