Climate-KIC discussion in Brussels: ‘Coordinate EU low-carbon programmes to increase impact’

Policy makers, researchers and business representatives discussed opportunities offered by more coordination of low-carbon programmes across the EU at an event in Brussels last week (18 November).

During the lunch debate organised by Climate-KIC, policy makers indicated they are looking for new ways to coordinate existing innovation programmes across Europe. This is particularly needed for low-carbon initiatives as the EU has agreed to use 20% of its €1 trillion budget for 2014 – 2020 for climate-related investment.

Bertrand van Ee, Climate-KIC CEO
Bertrand van Ee, Climate-KIC CEO

Climate-KIC CEO Bertrand van Ee stressed that Climate-KIC focuses on a bottom-up approach and works with regions across Europe to link up EU climate policy and regional programmes to maximise the economic and climate impact of climate change related innovation.

The European Structural and Investment Funds managed by regional authorities will be the largest coordinated investment programme in low-carbon innovation in Europe up to 2020.

The debate took place in the European Parliament on 18 November, as part of the 6th European Innovation Summit. The lunch event was hosted by MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij, who sits on the Parliament’s regional development committee and was moderated by Aled Thomas, regions director at Climate-KIC.

Other key speakers in the debate included Mathieu Fichter, member of cabinet for EU regions commissioner Corina Creţu, Jordi Curell, director at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture and Thomas Wobben, director at the Committee of the Regions, European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) governing board chairman Peter Olesen and Climate-KIC director for education Ebrahim Mohamed.

Regional Innovation Scheme

One of the opportunities discussed was the EIT’s new Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS). Climate-KIC is working with eleven European regions to develop regional innovation capacity to deliver innovative programmes that support the low-carbon economy. 

Aim of the scheme is to stimulate collaboration and coordination by even more local policy makers, businesses and academics across a larger area, to increase the impact on the economy and CO2 levels.

The participating regions are the West Midlands (UK), Hessen (Germany), Valencia (Spain), Emilia Romagna (Italy), Lower Silesia (Poland) and Central Hungary, who have paired up in two-region partnerships with Cork/Dublin (Ireland), Helsinki/Uusimaa (Finland), North Portugal and Lisbon, Slovenia and Timis (Romania).

Working with individual regions

Participants also discussed a new pilot project that Climate-KIC is running in partnership with Poland’s Lower Silesia region. Climate-KIC and Lower Silesia signed an agreement earlier this year to coordinate their low-carbon programmes.

The Lower Silesia region is proposing to spend more than €600 million of its European Structural and Investment funds to support its regional low-carbon economy over the next seven years. Climate-KIC will be investing close to €400 million across Europe in that same period.

Climate change and the opportunities to create jobs and growth across Europe while reducing CO2 levels was one of the most important topics discussed at the Innovation Summit from 18 – 20 November, for more information about Climate-KIC’s involvement click here.

Social media highlights

Not in Brussels last week? Check out our recap of the debate on social media for the highlights and experience the discussion as it happened.