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.
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.
Using off-the-shelf technology and innovative economics, lightweight helium balloons have started carrying remote-controlled laboratories to the edge of space and back, offering the business case for new types of science missions.
A company that produces radiators that heat homes for free by using spare energy from computer servers is part of a wave of businesses embracing the concept of doing more with less, an idea known as frugal innovation.
Europe needs to demonstrate to many of its companies the benefits of innovation, according to Professor Luke Georghiou, the vice-president for research and innovation at the University of Manchester, UK.
Smartphones are changing the game for entrepreneurs and innovators, cutting out the need for expensive equipment and enabling them to place technologies such as virtual reality how-to manuals and broadband service for aircraft passengers directly into our pockets.
Expensive large-scale trials on no-hoper drugs could become a thing of the past after a European research collaboration worked out how to tell if a medication is likely to cause side effects before they actually appear.
Future human labourers could wear sensors that talk to their robot co-workers.
A digital personal assistant plans to help migrants integrate.
Better treatments are needed to help those suffering from rare diseases, says Dr Daria Julkowska.