Jean Monnet Chair in “European Innovation Policy”

Rationale and objectives

Innovation is a key driver for economic recovery, growth and for meeting societal and sustainability needs. As stated by the Communication on Innovation Union, in the face of the challenges brought about by the recent global economic crises the only answer is innovation. Innovation is the engine of economic growth, creating new markets, reaching new productivity levels, improving long-term well-being in several ways: innovation in communications fosters educational, political and social development; biological innovation mitigates disease and hunger; innovation in smart grids leads to more efficient and sustainable energy consumption, etc.

Europe is facing an innovation emergency: over the past two decades the gap between Europe and other regions of the world in terms of growth and competitiveness has been constantly widening. The main problems that hamper European innovation are the poor availability of finance, costly patenting, the lack of a legal and tax level playing field across member states, outdated regulations and procedures, slow standard-setting processes, weakness in public education and innovation systems in a number of countries. Investing more in research, innovation and entrepreneurship is at the heart of Europe 2020 and a crucial part of Europe’s response to the economic crisis.

Thus, a strategic and integrated approach to innovation that maximises European, national and regional research and innovation potential is nowadays essential. That is why as part of the Europe 2020 strategy, the Commission adopted the Innovation Union flagship initiative. It sets out a comprehensive innovation strategy to enhance Europe’s capacity to deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and highlights the concept of smart specialisation as a way to achieve these goals.

The objective of this project is that of stimulating teaching, research and debating activities in a crucial area of European integration studies in order to promote innovation and development through the creation of an innovation ecosystem. To this aim we propose the creation of a teaching course at University of Basilicata on European innovation policy with a particular focus on technology transfer, intellectual property and the single innovation market for Europe in order to contribute to the knowledge base essential to the construction of a community of innovation for economic and social growth and development.

Background

The role of Universities is traditionally related to the concept of knowledge creation: Universities are those institutions devoted to produce basic research and new knowledge to be converted into applied research and new products. In the last two decades academia has increasingly played a new role, that of facilitator of knowledge transfer and open innovation. Universities have become a driver of innovation and economic growth. In the context of the “Innovation Union”, the European Union strategy to create an innovation-friendly environment, Europe is committed to the creation of new knowledge alliances, which will host an enhanced collaboration between industry and academia accordingly with the Triple Helix Innovation model. In the Triple Helix Innovation model, knowledge flows among University, Industry and Government are of crucial importance for the profitability and growth of science-based industries. Thus, Universities are at the centre of the relationship among the three actors and effective interaction between them becomes particularly relevant to foster innovation, development and agglomeration economies.

Recently, the evolution of the innovation model gives an additional role to Universities. According to the Quadruple and Quintuple Helix Innovation models the participation of civil society into advanced innovation systems and the circulation of knowledge are pivotal forces and drivers of progress. In this framework, Universities act as agents of societal change providing answers to societal challenges. The concept of “Entrepreneurial University” describes the new role of University as an engine of innovation and regional growth, devoted to promote a cooperation system of knowledge, know-how, and innovation for more sustainable development.

Teaching course, workshops, seminars and lecture series

The teaching course proposed in this project goes in the direction of stimulating teaching, research and debating activities in a crucial area of European integration studies (EU innovation policy). The present project can foster the creation of that knowledge base which is of crucial importance to promote the construction of a community of innovation. It contributes to set up a productive ground for innovation through research, educational and dissemination activities on three of the main topics of the EU innovation policy. In the first year (a.y. 2014-2015) the course will be on the Innovation Union strategy; in the second year (a.y. 2015-2016) the focus will be on the Unitary protection for intellectual property rights; in the last year (a.y. 2016-2017) of the chair the topic will be technology transfer and cooperation agreements in the perspective of a single innovation market for Europe.

According to the multi-disciplinary profile of the proposed Chair, workshops, seminars and lecture series will be organized each year on topics concerning economic, business and legal aspects of innovation policy, intellectual property, technology transfer and antitrust. Workshops, seminars and lecture series will provide a forum to the community at large to learn about most recent and advanced studies on the topics of innovation, intellectual property and competition law.

Jean Monnet Programme