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“Innovation and technological leadership is the only way for the EU to maintain a strong, sustainable and competitive economy,” says Dr Roland Strauss, founder, K4I Forum in the European Parliament.

One of the most influential figures within the European innovation landscape, and co-founder of the K4I Forum in the European Parliament, told me this on Inside Ideas earlier this year, on the eve of the first-ever European Innovation Area Summit.

For well over a decade, in his role as the founder of the nonprofit, he has been the driving force behind the European Innovation Summit held annually in the European Parliament, which brings European commissioners and MEPs face-to-face with the needs of the company’s, organisations, ideas and startups driving innovation across the continent. 

Now, as Europe begins laying out its plans for delivering on its vision to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, it is the role of innovation that is again taking centre stage. 

And as the key innovation platform at the heart of the European institutions, with the support of dozens of MEPs, it is the K4I Forum in the European Parliament – sitting at the crossroads between politics, businesses, startups, academia and wider society, which is perfectly placed to help define the leading role it will play in achieving this net-zero future.

“We need not only to develop vaccines against Covid, we need vaccines also for the planet,” Dr Strauss says. “Our planet is sick and here is where innovation comes in, here is where innovation must have an impact, and must develop the solutions to cure the planet and avoid the breaking of our planetary boundaries.”

Dr Strauss and K4I are leading the charge for the development of a European Innovation Area – a single ecosystem for innovation across the continent that can harness the collective power of game changing solutions to achieve a just transition towards a sustainable Europe that works for all. 

“The European Innovation Area Initiative is about strengthening innovation ecosystems at the local, regional and national levels and better connecting them across Europe,” Dr Strauss explains. “We are aiming at a kind of single market for innovation because there are still quite some fragmentations in different important areas.”

Next month a special edition of Innovators Magazine will be produced in partnership with the K4I Forum: 100 Actions and Ideas that drive the European Innovation Area, which will be distributed at an event in the European Parliament, and through our newsletter: Sign up to the Innovators Magazine newsletter to get it straight to your inbox.

The K4I Forum in the European Parliament will hold the second European Innovation Area Summit next summer in the parliament in Brussels.

Before we move forward to 2023 though, let’s rewind and hear what Dr Strauss had to say about the EU and innovation earlier this year during one of our top podcasts of the last 12 months.

The post Innovation puts Europe on new path to net-zero first appeared on Innovators magazine.

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