Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science
03 Mar 2012
Nanyang Executive Centre Auditorium 60, Nanyang View, Singapore 639673
Speaking to a crowd of over 300 people on a Saturday morning, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Ms Marie Geoghegan-Quinn, spoke of the importance of research and development (R&D) in driving economic growth.
The Commissioner began by emphasising the importance of the European Union as an economic powerhouse with a single market of over 500 million consumers, and as one of the most important trade and investment partner of Singapore. The EU accounts for 20% of global trade and as the world’s most important trading power, shapes the rules and sets standards for trade. The EU also leads the world in ideas and in many areas of research and industry such as energy, pharmaceuticals, transport, etc. Despite the current economic difficulties, all but 4 of the 27 EU member states have increased their budget for R&D and the European Commission is also increasing the budget for research, innovation and science to 80 billion euros for its next framework programme, Horizon 2020. Indeed, studies have consistently shown that investments in R&D are crucial to generating sustainable economic growth.
Horizon 2020 (from 2014 – 2020) is a funding instrument that aims to promote excellent research, industrial leadership in translating ideas and research into innovative products, and encourage collaboration of scientists and experts from all over the world to tackle common challenges in areas of health, demographics, food security, climate action, etc.
The Commissioner urged Singapore to look beyond the EU’s current crisis, and take note of the huge potential for collaboration between Singapore and the EU in the area of science and technology. The EU has a clear strategy for building a better future as it moves towards greater fiscal consolidation and implements its Europe 2020 Growth strategy. This is the right time for Singapore and ASEAN to step up cooperation with the EU in the areas of ICT, environment, food, agriculture and biotechnology and health and pandemic diseases.