The European Green Deal sets out an exciting vision for the European Union to become the first climate-neutral continent. Delivering climate targets alongside economic growth will be a major challenge.
Success requires innovating in all aspects of our lives, from what we eat to how we travel. These innovations must have support from EU funds. However, current available financial support is constrained, particularly given the costs of responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
The first two briefings in our new series Innovating for a better future, examine two critical aspects of EU-level innovation policy to ensure alignment with the objectives of the European Green Deal.
First, is the requirement for a new ‘learning governance’ process to ensure innovation needs are based on the latest up-to-date knowledge, covering technical and social issues. For this, we are calling for the creation of a new independent centre of expertise – the Clean Economy Observatory. The observatory will drive learning-by-doing via large-scale deployment pilots. The observatory will also help identify the EU research and innovation missions that must be addressed to ensure delivery of climate neutrality.
Second, is the effective prioritisation of research and innovation needs. A Clean Economy Observatory would be able to produce a rigorous science-based assessment of priorities. However, in the absence of such analysis, we rely on an intuitive understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead. We have undertaken an assessment to identify key priorities for; energy (including buildings), transport, industry and agriculture and land use, as well as important issues cutting across sectors, such as artificial intelligence.
These papers were written as the COVID-19 crisis was emerging. COVID-19 will raise its own research questions, including around responses to pandemics and other crises such as climate change. At the time of writing, this did not change our mind about the appropriate response within the R&I field to the current climate crisis.
Read the full briefing, Governing Innovation to Deliver Climate Neutrality, here.
Read the full briefing, Innovation Priorities to Deliver Climate Neutrality, here.