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European Research and Innovation Days 2021: This week, the future is finally here

European Research and Innovation Days 2021: This week, the future is finally here

See our picks of what is not to be missed out

Our inner geeks are brimming with excitement. The reason is clear - in less than two days Europe will show its inventive capacity and talent at the Research and Innovation Days 2021 mega event on 23-24 June.

There are plentiful panels, debates, presentations and workshops to attend, and it might feel a bit mind-boggling where to even begin from, or how to organize your own programme. So, we decided to help and offer our own curated selection.

Science ideas get shapes and colours thanks to a special Exhibition

First of all, if you have not yet registered for the event, get to it already. Doing so will not only grant you access to the event but to a special online European Research and Innovation Exhibition. It is a special treat for attendees and the organizers have promised that it will serve as a showcase for more than 100 EU-funded projects that will shape our future world.

You are itching to know what our future will look like but somehow you cannot even wait until 23 June? Impatience is rewarded in this case with sneak previews of 6 of these projects. These are available at the ‘Behind the scenes’ podcast website, where each project gets its own exclusive episode, hosted by journalist Jennifer Baker.

Tune in to find out how innovation and technology are conquering old fields and new in a way that might leave you surprised. Fungal architectures anyone? Yes, that is one of the episodes’ project themes, for example.

European Union expands on the idea of partnering

The first day of the RnI 2021 event will start off strong. At 12:15 (CET) you can become witness to the launch of the 11 new co-programmed European Partnerships between the European Commission and important private sector representatives from different industries. The session will include the signing of one of the various Memoranda of Understanding, whose implications will be the pooling of public and private financial resources (to the tune of 22 billion euros), know-how and efforts in order to boost European competitiveness, technological sovereignty and economic growth.

The signing will be attended by Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, who has led the organization of the large event. Last week, when these new strategic partnerships were announced she had this to comment regarding the breakthrough: "With Horizon Europe we are committed to emerge from the climate crisis, provide sustainable solutions to major environmental challenges and accelerate a sustainable recovery. This will benefit all Europeans”.

The Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton added: “With the new Partnerships Europe is coming at the forefront of global technological developments, building key industrial capacities and accelerating its twin green and digital transitions. This will help put Europe on a path towards climate-neutrality by 2050 and a circular economy. Through their work, the Partnerships will also put an emphasis on developing the digital technologies needed for supporting Europe's industrial leadership”.

What will be exciting from the local perspective?

It goes without saying that we are particularly interested in knowing what research and innovation will mean for the European cities and regions and the role they get to play in shaping the future. With that in mind, we have compiled a selection of the online sessions treating this angle.

On the first day, early on, you should tune in to the ‘Cities and citizens delivering on EU mission’ plenary (10:15 CET) to find out how the European Union is planning to involve cities and their citizens into achieving the ambitious goals of the Union. The European Commission will be represented by Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. The other speakers will offer local perspectives from different corners of the continent.

The second day will be an even better choice for getting into the finer details of the intersection between the local aspirations and innovative offers and solutions. At 11:00 (CET) you might even have to switch back and forth between two sessions as on Channel 4 the debate will focus on ‘Regions and local authorities at the forefront of the recovery process’ and Channel 5’s debate will treat the New European Bauhaus movement and its role in post-Covid recovery.

These could not be any better timed and we will follow them with the greatest of attention.

Innovation and transformation in Europe would not be complete if it did not also include rural areas. This is where the ‘Biodiversity rich farming systems: let’s make it happen!’ session at 14:30 (CET) on Channel 2 will get to put the spotlight on this central issue.

Stay tuned to find what we report on the issues and developments during the Research and Innovation Days 2021 as they unfold.

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