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Smarter policies and legislation for green investment

03 December 2015

Europe’s leading research and innovation experts came together at the ESADE Business and Law School in Barcelona at a two-day Science|Business Annual Summit to make a call for a research and innovation-based action plan against climate change. Lidia Borrell-Damian, EUA’s Director for research and innovation, participated in the event.

Universities, companies and policy leaders discussed the importance of research for sustainable growth and made an appeal in The Barcelona Climate Declaration, released on 20 November 2015.

The declaration highlights the potential of research and innovation-based methods and calls for a shared action plan to address the climate crisis. It also stresses the importance of leadership and budgetary policies that support education and research: “Smart energy infrastructures, and new digital, material and bio-technologies are needed – to cut emissions, modernise infrastructures, save or recover energy, reorganise industry and society, and preserve the planet.”

“Climate change matters to all citizens. We all want to be empowered to develop and adopt new solutions faster. The European community of researchers and innovators have a special responsibility and capacity to make it happen,” the declaration stresses.

EU and national governments are under-investing in energy and climate research. The action plan calls for a doubling of funding in the European Commission’s budget for research relevant to environmental issues and a comparable commitment, on the part of the EU member states, to keep research a priority. It also calls for more incentives to encourage the private sector to innovate in climate-related technologies, “otherwise we will just get more old-technology, carbon-generating airports, roads, and factories.”

The declaration also notes that new, green technologies require special funding mechanisms to move towards global markets. It also recommends a comprehensive legislative agenda to incorporate research and innovation into all EU climate-related policies.

Research and innovation “will help build the communities we need, inspire the legislation we require, and provide the financial incentives for progress. We call upon our leaders to recognise it, act on it, and stand up for it.”

EUA is convinced that universities can be at the cutting edge of research and innovation in clean and sustainable technology. Universities are also unique in their capacity for linking basic and applied research, innovation and education in a single environment. In the field of energy research and education, EUA is currently advancing the work of its European Platform of Universities in Energy Research & Education through the UNI-SET project, which aims to mobilise Europe’s universities to tackle the “energy challenge”.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
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Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

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Tel: +41 22 552 02 96