IBM Science of Cities pulls scientific minds to Dublin

28 Oct 2011

European Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, who was keynote speaker at the IBM Science of Cities Colloquium yesterday

As Dublin prepares to be City of Science 2012, it was fitting that European Commissioner for Research and Innovation Máire Geoghegan-Quinn was at the IBM campus in Mulhuddart, Co Dublin as keynote speaker at the IBM Science of Cities Colloquium yesterday.

Smart cities is about making cities more attractive to live in, re-inventing areas such as transport, energy, infrastructure, education and weather analytics. It’s also about making cities greener, leaner and cleaner, ultimately future-proofing them.

The smart cities event has attracted over 100 IBM tech heads to Dublin, each with their own skill sets to bring to the table, be it data mining, IBM technologists who use analytics to predict natural disasters in places such as Rio, and smart-building pioneers.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn started off by thanking IBM for the invite to speak at the Science of Cities Colloquium.

“It is a pleasure to be back in Ireland with IBM. Last November I was very pleased to attend the IBM SmartCamp World Finals in Dublin that rewarded and celebrated the most innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups.

“It is very appropriate to discuss the Science of Cities in Dublin, the host city for the European City of Science in 2012 – the largest science and research gathering in Europe. This will give Dublin and Ireland a wonderful opportunity to showcase the best research that is being performed in Ireland and to lead the European-wide debate on the most important research and science issues.”

Europe: energy, economy, climate change, resources, ageing population

Geoghegan-Quinn said that over the two days of this colloquium IBM is discussing the most pressing issues of urban development and urban living.

“These issues touch on some of the greatest challenges facing us in Europe:  the economy, climate change, energy and resources and the ageing of our population.”

R&I and science at the heart of EU fight for jobs/prosperity – EU Commissioner

“I am convinced that both research and innovation are crucial in facing and solving these challenges. The Member States of the European Union and the European institutions are, quite correctly, currently focusing on the urgent task of securing economic stability. But that is only the beginning. We also need, urgently, to promote growth. And that is why we are putting research, innovation and science at the heart of our fight for jobs and prosperity.”

Getting Europe back on track

She said that the Europe 2020 Strategy adopted last year by the EU Member States is firmly based on the conviction that we need to innovate to get Europe back on the path to growth and jobs.

“Innovation Union – launched by me a little over a year ago – aims to improve the basic conditions that let entrepreneurs and companies in Europe flourish.”

Innovation Union concentrates on putting in place the conditions that will smoothe the path from lab to market, from excellent research to new products that people will want to buy and use. We need, for example, faster standard-setting in Europe, cheaper and easier patenting, more public procurement of innovative products and services, and better access to venture capital, added Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn.

“We make specific commitments in Innovation Union on how to achieve these objectives within clearly defined timescales. And after just over a year, I am pleased to say that we are meeting our Innovation Union commitments. We have already tabled proposals for the creation of a single European patent – that will end the current costly lack of an internal market for patent protection – and on speeding up standard setting at an EU level.”

She outlined how, in September, the Commission launched a “major public consultation on the remaining obstacles to be removed to complete the European Research Area, and by the end of this year, we will make a proposal for an EU-wide venture capital scheme.”


FP7 – for research and technological development

“As well as being responsible for steering Europe’s innovation agenda, my role as the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science means that I am also in charge of the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development – better known as FP7. This is the largest publicly-funded research programme in the world and is valued at 55 billion Euro during the period 2007 to 2013. IBM is an active participant in FP7 – taking part in 63 collaborative research projects, and receiving over 35 million Euro in European Union funding,” added Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn.

There will be more to follow on the IBM Smart Cities event.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic