Lithuanian Presidency stresses importance of smart manufacturing for Europe's future

08 October 2013, Last updated at, 17:29 EET
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author: Albert Lozano/Scanpix

On 7-8 October Vilnius is hosting the international conference MANUFUTURE 2013 with 500 participants from 41 countries. At the conference which is part of the official programme of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council, representatives of European manufacturing industry and science debate how Horizon 2020 – the EU's new framework programme for research and innovation – will strengthen the EU manufacturing industry, sustainable development and competitiveness in the period 2014-2020.

The conference is under the patronage of Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania. "The European Union has an ambition to be the Innovation Union. Europe's manufacturers can offer innovative and high quality products to the world. In the face of competition today every manufacturer must stand out, be attractive and reliable. This can be achieved through the collaborative efforts of private-public partnerships and based on research and investment in advanced innovative technologies. "Designed and made in the EU" should become a symbol of the supreme quality and innovation," the President said.

In the discussions and the speeches made by European Commission, business and science representatives, special attention is given to the increase in efficiency of EU regional and national RTD support tools through their mutual synergy and the national and regional smart specialisation of the countries.

Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science Dainius Pavalkis said: “Today the importance of the manufacturing industry for the sustainable growth of Europe is immense. In order for us to meet Europe’s competitiveness needs on the global arena, research and innovation must become core for the industrial transformation.”

Herbert von Bose, Director, European Commission, DG Research & Innovation, Industrial Technologies, said: “To meet the challenges ahead we need all brains in Europe and the cooperation of all Member States. This will create the base to maintain and increase manufacturing in Europe”.

The manufacturing industry represented by ManuFuture has significant interest in the EC Regional Policy as a key delivery mechanism for EU 2020 and the pursuit of smart, sustainable and inclusive regional growth. Smart specialisation combines a place-based approach with an innovation systems logic and a strong outward orientation towards global value chains aimed at smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the regions. To achieve smart growth Europe needs to mobilise and maximise the innovation capacity of every region through open innovations and the alignment of public and private investment decisions towards a limited number of priorities with the highest development impact.

During the conference, ways to better transform Horizon 2020 investments into wealth, growth and jobs are being discussed: supporting better coverage of the entire innovation cycle, promoting better alignment with national and regional policies and funding programmes, and creating framework conditions for growth and jobs to help the European regions stay globally competitive.

The conference adopted a declaration which states that “Europe has a strong tradition of manufacturing from high tech to traditional fields, producing high quality goods. This provides us with a solid foundation for a future of sustainable and competitive growth in Europe achieved through ambitious projects with results clustered and brought beyond demonstration to industrial-scale pilots.”

According to the Declaration, at Manufuture 2013 European industry has re-iterated its commitment to research and innovation, the key importance of SMEs and the need for continued strong support from the public authorities. By hosting this conference Lithuania, with the presence of the President of Lithuania, has further highlighted the importance of cooperation between the Member States regardless of their size or location within the European Union.

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