Lords doubt European technology plans

04-07-2007

Lords doubt European technology plans
EU plans to foster research and development through the European Institute of Technology (EIT) have been criticised by members of the House of Lords.

Peers on the Lords' EU committee have published a report attacking the planning of the EIT, expressing concern that businesses will not properly engage with its projects.

The EIT is designed to address the difficulties Europe is experiencing in making its research and education capabilities beneficial to commercial interests.

Today's report says the EIT's budget of €308.7 million (£208.3 million) for the six-year period beginning next year is excessive and is worried this money will be drawn from a source previously allocated exclusively for use in emergencies.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood, chair of the committee, commented: "We do have concerns that what is currently being proposed will not be the best way to ensure that the projects taken forward are commercially successful, as well as innovative.

"It is vital that business is heavily involved in the EIT from the outset, and as a committee, we feel that ensuring business buy-in must be the focus of EU efforts in establishing the EIT."

An earlier report by the committee, published in April, revealed doubts about the incentives offered to businesses to participate in EIT projects.

It said attempts to encourage partnerships between businesses, higher education institutions and research organisations through internal divisions into six knowledge and innovation communities would prove difficult.


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