EU Research and Innovation (R&I) is central to the European Green Deal, delivering climate neutrality by 2050, and future EU economic prosperity.
The European Commission reaffirmed this in their recovery proposals. Yet while European R&I policy remains committed to decarbonisation as one of its objectives, it is still missing a strategy on how it will support this transformation. Establishing a strategy is key to achieving the deep changes necessary for climate neutrality.
This briefing argues delivering the ambition of the European Green Deal will require a new EU R&I strategy.
Establishing the following three design principles for R&I in the EU will accelerate the climate transition. Following these principles will also help establish the EU as a global leader in clean innovation.
Three design principles
- Aim for system-level change
Delivering climate neutrality by 2050 will require a deep reorganisation of EU R&I around achieving system-level innovation for decarbonisation, best served by a challenge-driven approach.
- Support a socially and geographically inclusive transition
The success of the European Green Deal will highly depend on spreading the benefits and funding for EU R&I policy more widely across European geographies. Doing so will help ensure existing disparities do not become entrenched further. EU R&I policy must also own the social dimension of the transition, addressing it as an integral part of its agenda.
- Leverage EU R&I for global decarbonisation
The EU’s challenge will be overcoming the binary competition mindset of winning at the expense of cooperation. Instead, the EU should pursue both global decarbonisation and competitiveness by tapping into its recognised R&I decarbonisation expertise. In doing so, the EU can help solve other countries’ decarbonisation challenges – in partnership with them – thereby securing future R&I markets for competitiveness gains.