Innovation is a competitive advantage for European companies, which is essential to go along with the ecological transition, revitalise the economy, and ensure the well-being of citizens. The EU’s anti-crisis strategies aim to strengthen autonomy in key high-innovation sectors such as pharma, which employed 840,000 people in 2021 and recorded a production value of €300 billion. “As well as driving medical progress by researching, developing and bringing new medicines that improve health and quality of life for patients around the world,” the Efpia 2022 report points out, “the research-based pharmaceutical industry is a key asset of the European economy. It is one of Europe’s top performing high-technology sectors.”
Anti-crisis strategies: innovation as a resilience factor
The authoritative Collins Dictionary has identified the term permacrisis as the symbol word of 2022. This neologism, obtained from the collation of permanent and crisis, indicates “an extended period of instability and insecurity, esp one resulting from a series of catastrophic events.”
In the past year, the continuing health emergency and unstable geopolitical balances, as is often the case in times of crisis, have had a propelling effect on innovation. According to the Adobe report “The Future of Time: Redefining Productivity During Uncertainty,” the climate of general uncertainty has prompted many companies to invest in new technologies in order to gain greater competitiveness and resilience. The research, which covered 8 global markets, surveyed about 9,700 executives and employees from small, medium and large companies. About a third of the executives surveyed said that technological innovation had greatly improved production efficiency, which also had a positive impact on the collaborative climate and quality of work in the company. Italy emerged as the most active European nation on the machinery investment front, which increased by 3.7 percent compared to the pre-pandemic period.
EU: fertile ground for the development of deep tech innovation
On July 5, 2022, the European Commission published a communication entitled A New European Innovation Agenda, whose main objective is to “define an innovation policy that can stimulate a sustainable and resilient recovery, accelerate green and digital transitions, and ensure Europe’s technological sovereignty.”
The document recalls that the EU is uniquely positioned to lead high-tech innovation. First, thanks to Europe’s undisputed leadership in science, which places it first on a global scale in knowledge production, quality publications, innovation and green patents. Moreover, the strong industrial infrastructure and prolific startup system provide fertile ground for deep tech innovation, which can access advanced scientific, technological, engineering, mathematical and entrepreneurial expertise.
Anti-crisis strategies: strengthening the EU’s leadership in pharmaceuticals
In 2021, the European pharmaceutical industry covered about a quarter of world production. The health emergency has shown how significant it is for the EU to gain autonomy on a global scale by redefining the legislative framework, supporting innovative approaches to drug development, production, and quality control.
In September 2022, the European Medicines Agency established the new Quality Innovation Expert Group (QIG), an expert group that will focus on new devices and materials, new technologies, and digitization, in accordance with the goals set out in the EMA’s “Regulatory Science Strategy to 2025.” Among the QIG’s main tasks is to ensure that “the European medicines regulatory network keeps pace with innovation, identifies and addresses gaps in the regulatory framework and increases predictability for developers of innovative technologies.”