With the focus on “Europe being a fertile soil for innovation”, CEO Willem Jonker presented the research and innovation opportunities provided by EIT ICT Labs at the conference “Destination Europe” held in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 20, 2012.
The conference is the first in a series of initiatives taken by the European Commission, DG RTD (Research & Innovation) with the objective to raise awareness of the attractiveness of Europe as an excellent location for research and innovation and especially highlighting the attractive opportunities for women researchers in Europe.
Among the speakers were RTD Commissioner Màire Geoghegan-Quinn, Dragos Mihael Ciuparu (President of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, Ministry of Education, Research, Sport and Youth), Riitta Mustonen (Vice-President Research Academy of Finland), Jean-Pierre Bourguignon (Director Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques), Donald Dingwell (Secretary General European Research Council), John Wood (Chair of the European Research & Innovation Area Board), Kurt Deketelaere (Secretary General of the League of European Research Universities) and Tim Hunt (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine).
The Conference addressed in particular researchers interested in new options for developing their careers by moving to or returning to Europe. For them it was an opportunity to engage in and contribute to the discussion with high-level policy makers, top researchers and business leaders.
In his presentation, CEO Willem Jonker showed how EIT ICT Labs contribute to the vibrant science and technology culture in Europe that offers excellent career and funding opportunities for researchers and innovators - no matter where they come from in the world.
EIT ICT Labs equips students, researchers, academics and business people with skills for creativity, risk taking spirit and entrepreneurial capacity. Boosting existing activities towards world-class performance and leveraging existing regional, national and EU-level funding instruments is the foundation.
Willem Jonker guided the audience through the journey that EIT ICT Labs has taken from the establishment of the first European co-location centres, to implementing specific processes and models that today enables supporting start-ups, coaching SME's and entrepreneurs, as well as enhancing the use and accessibility of pan-European test-beds ( e.g. FITTING project).
Launching the EIT ICT Labs Master School, that includes a unique programme in ICT Innovation for entrepreneurial ICT students with a broad European perspective and establishing the first EIT ICT Labs Industrial Doctoral Training Centres, shows that we within Europe is serious in our ambition to attract new talent to complement and catalyse the talent we already have.
Willem Jonker also had the pleasure to personally meet with RTD Commissioner Màire Geoghegan-Quinn during the European Career Fair that took place the following day, January 21st, at MIT. This Fair offered an opportunity to facilitate matching between European employers and some of the brightest researchers who are interested in a career in Europe and increase the awareness in the US of the opportunities that European research offers.
The European Commission is partnering with the ECF since 2007 to promote Europe as a great place to pursue a career in science and technology, be it in industrial research, research organizations, academia or science policy. EU Member States will promote participation by their national research organizations and companies engaged in research.