PowerUp! 2019: EU Offers a Lot of Opportunities for Good Ideas
Date: April 5th 2019
Author: Tanja Srnovršnik
The EU is offering really big opportunities to small and medium businesses as well as to young innovators and startups. However, in order to receive financial support, an excellent idea and project is needed, said Romana Jordan, advisor to the director of the Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI), at the PowerUp! 2019 Slovenia country final, which was held at Ljubljana Castle on Thursday as part of the biggest pitch competition for innovative startups from the cleantech sector. Meanwhile, Franc Bogovič, MEP, noted that it is easier to get money for good ideas today than it was in the past.Jordan mentioned at the event that the internal market is very important for the EU and energy is part of this market. The Clean Energy Package adopted by the European Commission brings a “stable and robust regulatory basis for energy companies”, and the EU is also working on ensuring and supporting a good and stable innovative environment via programmes such as Horizon 2020 and the new programme Horizon Europe, said Jordan, who is also member of the governing board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), and president of the administrative board of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).
According to Jordan, energy is also a priority field in the above-mentioned programmes. “It is important that companies have an opportunity to compete in different fields, not only in energy but also other fields such as cyber security. Other opportunities are provided by structural and cohesion funds,” added Jordan.
“Currently the main challenges are connected to climate change which is the main driver of European policy,” said Bogovič, who was also a former mayor of Krško (known for its nuclear power plant) and Slovenia’s former Minister of Agriculture and Environment. Bogovič mentioned that the Juncker investment plan also offers many opportunities for businesses with good ideas.
There are many opportunities for young people as funds for Erasmus will be at least doubled, said Bogovič, adding that there will be an increase of EUR 60 billion for Horizon and Erasmus.
State also important in terms of research
Jordan additionally stressed that “researchers and scientists are telling us that we need to act faster with regards to the energy transition” and that it is necessary to separate ideology and the problems that need to be solved. However, due to the challenges the industry is facing, this is not happening quickly enough. “Why don’t we put more focus on our real problems such as energy sources, climate change etc. Investment by the EU in solutions addressing this can give very clear results,” noted Jordan.
Despite this, Jordan is optimistic about the future due to the stable legislative basis. “I am positive as I see here in Slovenia there are also a lot of good ideas,” said Jordan, noting that scientists at JSI are developing special magnets for renewables, and the institute has strong ICT departments that are co-operating with companies developing technologies for flexible and dynamic networks which will be needed due to decentralisation. Additionally, almost all nuclear research in Slovenia is done at the JSI. “We have bright people,” stressed Jordan.
Bogovič is also very optimistic. “Climate change is happening and it is of utmost importance that young people believe in this. They are the key drivers of the challenges and changes. There are also many new technologies, such as blockchain, that we didn’t think were possible a few years ago. The most important driver in this area will be businesses,” said Bogovič, whilst Jordan noted that although business is a very important driver, she doesn’t think that it is more important than state investment.
“Business is investing in technologies which are first developed within the basic research financed by the government. Therefore, it is important for countries to invest into basic and applied research,” stressed Jordan.
Bogovič added that he is sure that “the (climate; author’s note) targets which are very ambitious today will be reached, in some countries even earlier.”
Read also the recent interviews with Romana Jordan and Franc Bogovič!
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