The European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn has opened a three-day conference at University College Cork this morning that will explore regional aspects relevant to the final stages of the design and legislative process for the European Union’s next funding programme Horizon 2020.
Set to run from 2014 to 2020 with an €80bn budget, Horizon 2020 is the successor to the EU’s FP7 programme.
The three-day Week of Innovative Regions in Europe (WIRE) event has been organised by Enterprise Ireland as part of Ireland’s presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Up to 350 delegates from 20 countries are converging at the event to share ideas on the role there can be for regions in the Horizon 2020 programme.
Speaking at the opening of the conference Geoghegan-Quinn spoke of the need to boost research and innovation at the regional, national and EU levels in order to drive economic recovery in Europe.
"The Commission is helping regions develop their innovation strategies and make the best use of EU research and regional funds to boost their knowledge base and create sustainable jobs," she said.
Dr Imelda Lambkin, Ireland’s national director for the FP7 programme, said the purpose of the conference is to contribute "substantially" to regional policy development in the areas of research, innovation and learning at both European and regional level.