Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe
Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe

On the concept of an European Innovation Council

EU-LIFE congratulate Commissioner Moedas and DG Research for initiating the public debate regarding the creation of an EIC and would like to highlight the potential of an EIC as an extraordinary opportunity for a paradigm shift at two levels:

  • To change the way innovation is tackled in Europe
  • To change the vision of the role of research in boosting innovation



EU-LIFE applauds the role of the EC on the research and innovation policies put in place across Europe, in particular the challenge of implementing a European Research Area and the current framework programme, Horizon2020. ERA and Horizon2020 are key to building a framework that brings research, innovation and society closer together and thus prepares Europe for the future.

Open innovation is key to Europe. However, there is the clear need for Speed and Scale regarding European innovation power. An EIC could be the driving force behind this, however it is unclear how the EC will implement a strategy to tackle this need and what the role of the EIC will be. In fact, there is still very limited information on how the EC is actually designing an EIC, and consequently it is very difficult to currently assess the potential of such a Council.



In order for the EIC to be a true paradigm-changer in European innovation, EU-LIFE highlights puts forward the following ideas:

  • To be successful, the creation of an EIC should be a stepwise process resulting from wide and thorough discussion with the community. EU-LIFE supports LERU’s recommendation: do not accelerate into a decision about an EIC before thorough evaluation and consultation.
  • Without excellent research there is no future for innovation. Currently excellent research is limited because of the demand for short-term, foreseeable impacts of research. Open innovation needs a paradigm shift from pushing research with obvious but limited applicability to fostering efficient collaboration between excellent research and innovation, thereby providing the means and support for a smooth transition from ideas and scientific results to the innovation process. If created, the EIC should be designed so it fosters this paradigm change.

In other words, an EIC is an extraordinary opportunity to change the innovation potential in Europe but only if next to Speeding and Scaling Innovation, it contributes to alleviate the pressure of short-term impact of research. Only by alleviating this pressure can research contribute to fuel innovation with disruptive ideas and blue sky solutions for today and tomorrow’s challenges.

  • If established, an EIC should be focused on bringing research and innovation together – working on the INTERSECTION of research and innovation. However, in several scenarios under public discussion, the EIC represents a real risk of contributing to an extremely undesirable duplication of structures, bodies and silos and could therefore widen further the gap between research and innovation. This must be avoided at any cost.
  • When creating an EIC, the EC should be ambitious regarding its governance namely in terms of independence from EC rules and administrative burden: create a solid concept with clear values, and let it grow and develop independently.
  • EU-LIFE believes that innovation should be promoted and fostered by the research institutions in Europe. Having a good collection of top professionals at the institutions capable of recognizing ideas at their embryonic stages, as well as providing valorization funds to those institutions, is one way to ensure success as exemplified by institutes like the VIB in Belgium.  

For a consultation of the full position paper of EU-LIFE regarding the EIC click HERE.