The role of research and innovation in sustainable economic growth was emphasized at the informal meeting of competitiveness ministers. The participants agreed that the we must cross boundaries between policy areas as well as civil society must be more engaged for research, development and innovation to have a greater impact.
According to Estonia’s representative, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Education and Research Indrek Reimand, the discussions were about how to increase the interaction between different policy areas and how to implement the potential of research in the best possible way. “Research is the driving force for society and the synergy stemming from the cooperation of research, businesses and civil society is necessary to address complex challenges, such as climate warming,” said Reimand. He added that the cross-sectoral planning has been implemented in Estonia - the joint strategy between for research, development, innovation and business is under development between different Ministries.
The participants stressed that the economic growth must take further into account the UN’s sustainable development goals, and research and innovation are the most suitable for finding solutions for the most acute societal challenges. “In autumn, the high-level expert groups start working and their aim is to determine challenges that need fast and smart solutions, for example ensuring clean water and food supplies, fighting cancer and tackling climate change,” Reimand explained. According to him, there are high expectations for the new so-called mission-based approach that also opens up new opportunities for Estonian researchers and businesses to tackle challenges.
The discussions on sustainable growth and competitive Europe will continue in autumn under the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.