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Gabriel visits US to drum up interest in European R&D

Image: European Union


Commissioner heads delegation aiming to woo American investors and launches platform to attract foreign innovators

EU research and innovation commissioner Mariya Gabriel is visiting Silicon Valley with a 40-member entourage, in a bid to attract American investment and talent to innovate in the bloc.

The visit by the EU delegation comes at a difficult time for investment in technology companies, less than two weeks after the collapse of the California-based Silicon Valley Bank on 10 March.

On 22 March, Gabriel (pictured) was scheduled to speak at an event in San Francisco, showcasing the EU’s R&I ecosystem to investors and businesses.

The EU has a much less active venture capital environment than the United States, where private investment plays a pivotal role in growing R&I-based companies.

The Commission has put a strong emphasis on supporting innovation through the EU’s €95.5 billion 2021-27 R&I programme, Horizon Europe. But its European Innovation Council funder for supporting technology development and small-business growth has struggled to deliver its investments.

EU advantages

Representatives of the EIC, as well as the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), MEPs, entrepreneurs and university rectors have joined Gabriel in Silicon Valley.

In material aimed at US-based investors, the Commission says that the EU “offers several advantages for startups looking to scale up their businesses”.

It adds that “Europe is the ideal place to launch and expand a company or a startup” because of funders including the EIC, EIT, the Access to Finance Initiative for small businesses, and regional innovation ecosystems.

This is in addition to Europe’s “excellent social welfare system…and its rich cultural history”, the Commission says, as well as the “large pool of talented and skilled workers” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Ahead of today’s event, Gabriel claimed that Europe was “now on equal footing with Silicon Valley in the area of groundbreaking deep-tech innovations”.

“We will promote innovation by investing in R&I, creating favourable policies, and supporting entrepreneurship to attract talent and increase investments in Europe,” she added.

Talent platform

During her visit, Gabriel is also launching an Innovation Talent Platform aimed at drawing in talent and investment from abroad to European businesses.

The platform offers information about funding opportunities, advice on launching businesses in the EU and migration advice on the EU Blue Card, which enables highly qualified workers to live and work in 25 member states.

The Commission said that programmes supporting researchers and their careers, such as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, the European Research Council and Erasmus+, would be promoted through the platform.

“These programmes provide opportunities for US businesses and universities to collaborate on cutting-edge projects with EU partners,” the Commission said, adding that they were “not limited to students and researchers, but [are for] innovators as well”.