Brussels, Belgium, March 21, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- Speaking at the European Parliament today (19 March 2014), Climate-KIC CEO Mary Ritter said Europe needs to leverage its combined expertise on climate change mitigation and adaptation to compete globally on energy efficiency.
Ritter made her comments at a high level roundtable on Europe’s energy future ‘Efficiency and competitiveness through smart integration’ hosted by former President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek MEP as part of the Knowledge4Innovation Forum.
The discussion was chaired by Dominique Ristori, Director General at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Energy. Ritter explained how Climate-KIC, as the European Union’s main climate innovation initiative, contributes to Europe’s competitiveness in the energy efficiency sector as part of its mission to address climate change mitigation and adaptation. To do this, the organisation interacts across global, EU, national and regional levels.
Participants of the roundtable agreed competitive, secure and sustainable energy is widely seen as vital for a thriving European economy and society. Ritter stressed the need for systemic development of the energy efficiency in the sector. Europe needs investment and knowledge innovation – not only new technologies or inventions, she said.
Integrated, impartial, and influential
It will require innovation in design, finance, policy and regulation – and above all, it demands new types of collaboration drawn from across the public and private spheres to identify and generate opportunity from this systemic challenge, Ritter emphasized.
Ritter said that Europe needs new collaborative mechanisms to be integrated, impartial, and influential. This is what Climate-KIC was established to do, she said.
Ritter pointed out that Climate-KIC is set to increase its ties with global partners, connecting Europe with major developing markets in key carbon-producing nations such as China and Brazil. Climate-KIC is expected to represent Europe’s climate innovation community on the international stage throughout the year.
Climate-KIC’s public-private partnership is partially funded by the European Commission through its European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) – which has confirmed an initial €63 million grant for 2014 – and receives financial and in-kind support from over 200 businesses, universities and public bodies across Europe.
Climate-KIC has launched new innovative projects in the construction and sustainable city sectors this year with corporate and academic partners across Europe, while admitting more start-ups into the Climate-KIC Accelerator – which is now one of the largest clean-tech accelerators in the world.
The EU climate innovation effort offers more courses for professionals in 2014 in addition to its existing programmes for Master and PhD students – and is scaling up its presence across Europe by opening new centres and strengthening its links with regional partners.
In February, Climate-KIC opened a new Nordic centre in Denmark. The new location is set to bring expertise from across Scandinavia into the Climate-KIC community, complementing existing centres in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK.
Climate-KIC is strengthening its ties with regional partners through centres in Valencia, Central Hungary, Emilia Romagna, Lower Silesia, Hessen and the West Midlands, which provide access to programmes offered by Climate-KIC centres operating on a national level to local students, researchers and entrepreneurs.
Climate-KIC’s regional centres are scaling up their activities in 2014. The representations will deliver a coordinated programme of professional education, business support and city-led innovation projects. Climate-KIC’s annual Innovation Festival, which sees climate innovators from across Europe discuss the latest advancements in climate science and business, will be held in the city of Valencia, Spain, this autumn.
As part of the European Commission’s Regional Innovation Scheme, Climate-KIC will also be working with regions in Slovenia, Ireland, Finland, Portugal and Romania.
Europe’s main climate innovation effort
Climate-KIC is the EU’s main climate innovation initiative. It is Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on mitigating and adapting to climate change. Climate-KIC consists of companies, academic institutions and the public sector.
The organisation has its headquarters in London, UK, and leverages its centres across Europe to support start-up companies, to bring together partners on innovation projects and to educate students to bring about a connected, creative transformation of knowledge and ideas into products and services that help mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Climate-KIC is one of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) created in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the EU body tasked with creating sustainable European growth while dealing with the global challenges of our time.