Correspondent's Choice

From the Innovation correspondent:

Europe is in desperate need of an Innovation Czar charged with fixing the EU’s fragmented innovation policy.

Dr Wolfgang Plischke, a leading thinker in the chemicals industry, says Europe’s innovation policy must be harmonised under the guidance of a high-level official within the European Commission.

He suggests giving the next European Commission President the task of pulling together the various strands of research and technology policy across the Union to iron out differences between member states.

“Innovation needs a champion at the highest level. The next Commission President should guide innovation policy and encourage national governments to work together,” he said.

Plischke said the EU has plenty of research initiatives but lacks joined-up thinking. “Having 27 different approaches does not help,” he said.

According to the chemicals industry specialist, the proportion of R&D spending devoted to innovation is small, and greater focus on bringing novel ideas to fruition is needed. He also stressed that industry is crying out for reliable policies in order to plan future product development.

“The situation is constantly changing according to the situation in member states. We encourage the Commission to work towards a harmonised policy,” said Plischke.

Plischke, who is a board member at Bayer AG and vice-president of chemicals industry body Cefic, said Europe has all the ingredients for a coherent innovation policy, but these need to be tied together into a single framework.

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