Europe's heads of state have adopted the "Europe 2020" 10-year growth strategy, which aims to make the EU a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. The strategy's targets include research and innovation. It also has seven "flagship initiatives" which include innovation and the digital economy.
The flagship initiatives for innovation and the digital economy are the Digital Agenda for Europe and the Innovation Union.
The Digital Agenda is the EU's strategy to help digital technologies, including the internet, to deliver sustainable economic growth. It aims to help Europe's citizens and businesses to get the most out of digital technologies. Key areas it identifies to stimulate the conditions to create growth and jobs in Europe include:
GÉANT, at the forefront of the development of networking technologies and services, blazes a trail which commercial markets can follow, ultimately benefitting Europe’s citizens and businesses. The excellent example GÉANT provides for research networking, with a successful organisational model and a track record of quality service delivery to the research and education sector, makes it a role model in the consideration of developing digital infrastructures for public service administrations. The European research networking community also boasts expertise in critical areas such as network and data security, and fast-developing areas such as cloud computing, which make GÉANT well-placed to make valuable contributions towards achieving the Digital Agenda’s key objectives.
The Innovation Union flagship initiative aims to improve conditions and access to finance for research and innovation in Europe, to ensure that innovative ideas can be turned into products and services that create growth and jobs. Its action points include:
GÉANT has a key role to play in delivering the European Research Area, providing seamless pan-European communications infrastructure for the research community. GÉANT and the NRENs also provide connectivity to research infrastructures – often located in remote parts of Europe – which is critical to realising their potential and providing scientists with access to their resources.
GÉANT's importance to European research and innovation is recognised in the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, within which Research Infrastructures are one of the key priorities of "Excellent Science". GÉANT is hosting a programme of Open Calls for innovative research within GN3plus and more generally is increasing its links and collaboration with industry and is looking at the funding and procurement vehicles the European Commission is developing for their potential to harness innovative networking research.
Members of the European NREN community have successfully accessed Structural Funds to support the development of their national networks and the community is aware of the potential to dovetail Structural Funds and 7th Framework /Horizon 2020 funding to deliver greater value to the research community.
GÉANT is the best-connected research network in the world, supporting the global research infrastructures to realise their ambitions, and well prepared to work even more closely with the leaders in the science community in future to support them in realising their goals – indeed, the governance structure of GN3plus includes an International User Advisory Committee specifically intended to support this objective.