Taftie Chair 2011 :: CDTI
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Chairmanship Summary


The Presidency:

President: Maurici Lucena / Arturo Azcorra

Secretary: José Manuel Leceta / Javier García

Treasurer: María Luisa Revilla

1. Overview

CDTI assumed the TAFTIE Chairmanship for the second time in its history taking advantage of the Spanish Presidency of the EU during the first semester in a period of time that before the beginning of the year was also felt as changing.

In the Action plan outlined during the Board meeting in Oslo (December 2009), three motivations were pointed for this Chair:

  1. Helping Complete the Development of the TAFTIE Strategy
  2. Creating the right conditions to help shape future European Policies
  3. Consolidating “linkages” within an increasingly multilevel innovation world.

Regarding the Development of the 2007 Strategy for TAFTIE, a review report was commissioned to Technopolis through the Task Force on the Role of TAFTIE. On this report the first feelings about the heterogeneousness of this rolling out is confirmed. While some elements of the New Strategy have been established and are running in a dynamic way, others have been left out of the scope or found as of very limited interest.

Implicit in the Strategy designed in 2007 is the wish to be more influential in Europe (The opinions of TAFTIE and its members will be widely sought and valued!) This was sensed as a key issue for this presidency from the beginning of the year and therefore it was included also as an objective of the newly established Task Force on the Role of TAFTIE. Besides, on this aim it is noteworthy the achievements acquired by the other new Task Force on SMEs. Its work was sent to the European Commission and received with high interest.

The three EWG meetings organised during the year (Madrid, Carmona and Santander) were designed as linking points with external stakeholders at three different levels. The first one facilitated the opportunity to share experiences with a representative from the American R&D&i system: Mr. Charles Wessner, Director of Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, from the National Academy of Science. In Carmona, the EWG meeting included a presentation from Dr. John Wood, President of the European Research Area Board the day before the ERAB Stakeholders conference in Seville. Finally, during the third meeting in September the EWG were invited to the Annual Encounter with the Spanish Regional Agencies for Innovation.

The first Board meeting in Brussels was held in Connection with II TAFTIE Policy Forum under the title: “The evolving role of Business Firms in an Innovation Union”. The discussion was animated by Prof. Gonzalo León, Vice President for Research at the Technical University of Madrid and ex-chair of the Lisbon Expert Group (LEG). The group took note with satisfaction on the progress made on stating a common view on how the European Research and Innovation at European level could best respond to the needs and potential of all kinds of SMEs.

In December the Chairmanship organised the Annual Conference in Alcalá de Henares previous to the Final Board Meeting. This Conference counted on interesting presentations from The European Commission, and other Stakeholders from around the world.

 2. New Actions

a. Task Force on SMEs and Industry in the European R&D Agenda (CDTI&RCN co-chaired)

This task force was established by TAFTIE board in order to serve as permanent structure focusing as a first topic on SMEs, serving as knowledge base for positions and actions in the field. Co-chaired between RCN and CDTI, the setting-up of this TF was inspired by the Statement from the TAFTIE Policy Forum in June 2009 which identified the need for TAFTIE to follow more closely and work collectively on options to tackle both “the SME issue” and, more generally “the industry issue” at European level, considering the that firms´ share in the FP7 for declining when, paradoxically, private investment was being expected to raise.

The TF met three times from January to March, where the first issue of the TF was accomplished and fruitful discussions were held by many TAFTIE members on the future of the SME measures in the European panorama. A common recommendation was agreed in the Task Force and distributed to the Board for approval via the chair, being a communication strategy already in place with the main stakeholders in the area, including the EC and Eureka. After consultation with the Troika and members, a letter by the Chair to both EC and Eureka was sent in mid May.


b. Task Force on the Role of TAFTIE (CDTI & EE co-chaired)

The Task Force established during the Board meeting in Oslo in December 2009 had as main aims to review the role out of the strategy and to study/propose how TAFTIE could reach more visibility and capacity to influence in external actors.

It has organised three meetings, parallel to the EWG, and has counted with the remarkable guidance and help of Valentine Hays. There has been some work subcontracted to Technopolis (the same facilitator used to design the new Strategy in 2007), more concretely, a report on the TAFTIE Strategy roll-out reviewand a paper on Positioning TAFTIE in ERA policy have been received.

The Task Force reported to the Board in June about the Strategy Roll out. It was found that it needed to go deeper into the practicalities on “how” to tackle requests on TAFTIE participation and opinions by systematically planning in advance of future consultations as well as to size more structural solutions. These final considerations were included in the final report sent to the Board in December so it could a decision.

c. Agency 2020

The aim of this Taskforce was to develop a method for TAFTIE Agency’s top management to understand drivers for future developments and trends and to reflect on the meaning and effects of this on their organizational strategy.

After two workshops, the TF has produced several results, like a customized method for agencies to preview effects of developments on their organisational strategy. The Task force has asked the Board to be discharged and to implement a course within the Academy on scenario planning.

3. Running Activities

a. Themes for the EWG meetings

As stated in the above summary, the three Executive working group meetings included the presentations or related activities stated in the plan of activities for 2010.

The instrument of “Thematic Discussion”, as was called by the 2009 Chairmanship of RCN has been proved as a good opportunity to exchange points of view among TAFTIE members, as well as to establish links with external organisations.

b. Ongoing TFs and Networks

i. Task Force on Internationalization (VINNOVA)

The Internationalization TF led by VINNOVA has organised three meetings during 2010, enrolling a good number of TAFTIE members. The following goals were identified for the future work to be carried out by the TF:

  1. Improving policy making and program design among TAFTIE agencies through structured policy learning and exchange of information and best practice, keeping an eye on possible areas for joint initiatives
  2. Increasing awareness of the innovation dimension in international cooperation with countries outside Europe (both at national and EU level)
  3. Establishing TAFTIE as an important voice in policy formulation in the field of international science, technology and innovation cooperation

A survey on ongoing activities, partners, programs and experiences with Brazil, China, India and the US has been circulated among the members of the Task Force and the answers have been analysed.

Besides those advancements, The TAFTIE report on internationalization was sent to the European Commission and received a very positive. DG Research provided written comments which were shared with DG

 ii. Network on State Aid Rules (TEKES)

This Network was approved in 2009 and plans to finalise its work during Spring 2011 after the Commission has ended its mid-term review of the R&D&I state Aid Rules.

So far, the network has concentrated in gathering experiences from the participating agencies, then identifying key concepts that, in view of the experiences, must be improved and then communicating the results to the EC. The views of the TF have been presented to the EC in April 2010 and were well received.

An important milestone of this network will be next December, when the EC has announced an open consultation, where the Network will show its points of view.

 4. Policy Forum

Building upon the 2009 Policy Forum and noting the significant progress achieved since then concerning SMEs, it was decided to focus the Policy Forum 2010 on an emerging issue of interest to members, whose relevance is being accelerated by the crisis and the need of Europe to adopt practices able to produce higher standards of economic and social relevance:”The evolving role of Business Firms in an Innovation Union”

The TAFTIE Policy Forum took place on 8th June in Brussels and included presentations from:

  • Professor Gonzalo León, Vice President for Research of the Technical University of Madrid and former Chair of the Lisbon Expert Group, introduced his paper on the issue.
  • Mr. Strohmeier, Deputy Director-General Scientific Advances of DG Research and Innovation, talked about innovation policy at the European level.
  • The German Eureka Chair 2009-2010, represented by Luuk Borg, Head of the Eureka Secretariat, and the incoming Israeli Eureka Chair, represented by Dr Shaul Freireich, Deputy Chief Scientist, revealed future plans as laid down in the Eureka Strategic Roadmap.

As a result of the Policy Forum, TAFTIE decided to publish a statement with the Title: “Challenge and opportunities for European firms in the emerging European Research & Innovation landscape”. This statement can be found in the TAFTIE website.

5. Academy

This important block on the Strategy approved in 2007 has been continuing to develop its activities during 2010. In this period, three trainings, two workshops and workshop organised by a member but using the Academy label have taken place. On the bad news side, it must be stated that three other trainings/workshops had to be cancelled due to the lack of participants, making clear which is a key point for the success of the Academy: the involvement of the members.

During the Board meeting in December, the Head of the Academy presented a report on the activities carried out.

 6. Annual Conference

The event was held in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid, Spain) on the 2nd of December under the motto: “Knowledge to act: from linkages to partnerships”. A presentation from the European Commission on the new European Innovation Policy was included and raised big interest.

In the afternoon, the workshop “Challenging futures: how can scenarios help to cope with uncertainties?” organised by the Task Force Agency 2020 took place.

 7. New members

During 2010, two new members have joined the network. In the EWG in Carmona, The Danish Agency for Science Technology and Innovation, represented by Mr. Soren Jensen (New EWG member) and Mr. Thomas Alslev (new board member) made the official presentation asking for the acceptance. The EWG recommended the Board to accept the candidate and during the Board meeting in June DASTI was accepted as new full member.

After several contacts, the chair visited Prague in June to study the candidature of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA CR). After finding that the agency meets all the requirements stated in the membership policy approved by the Board in 2008, Mr. Piotr Hadlik was invited to present the candidate to the EWG during its meeting in Santander. The EWG recommended the board to accept TA CR as new member, and therefore the invitation to make the presentation before the Board was sent.

 8. External Relations

As predicted in the 2010 plan of activities, the contacts with European major stakeholders and institutions, with the EC in particular, has undergone a significant increment. Besides the contacts maintained by the Task forces in their particular fields of action, several actions representing TAFTIE have required the presence of the Chair.(see Annex AIII on the Report from the Task Force on the Role of TAFTIE).

Several Press releases were deployed and published in some specialized sites after the first two EWG meetings, and the Board meeting in June. It was found that this activity reported little benefit and a high load of work; therefore it was rejected for the following meetings.

Some efforts to improve the TAFTIE website were also devoted in the Action plan for this year. A survey on what aspects had to be included in a new website was carried out at the beginning of the year. But taking into account that the incoming Chair had the IT as a core issue for the next year, it was decided to postpone the actions.

The TAFTIE Brochure was agreed and printed during the first trimester. It has been a good tool to publicize TAFTIE in events where it was not a central role player (i.e. events of the Spanish EU Presidency). Copies were made available for members and an electronic version was uploaded to the web. The printed copies remaining will be sent to the 2011 chair.

During the first semester, Spain held the Presidency of the EU giving the opportunity to make TAFTIE more visible in some chosen events held in Spain. During the June Board meeting a list of events were CDTI had used the TAFTIE image was reported. The coincidence of the TAFTIE Chairmanship and the EU Presidency has been felt by CDTI as a big effort, but with good results.

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