The United States-European Union Summit on Science, Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Economic Growth—organized in part by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville—has produced five reports examining the critical impacts of investments in science, technology and innovation on sustainable economic growth.
The summit involved an interdisciplinary group of scientists, economists, academics, entrepreneurs and policy analysts from the U.S. and EU and was held from 2010 to 2012 in Knoxville, Tenn.; Washington, D.C.; Paris, France; and Brussels, Belgium.
UT's Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy partnered with the European Commission, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to organize the summit. It was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the European Commission.
"Senator Baker, who took an active role in formulating this project, has long been interested in balancing environmental preservation with our desire for economic growth and in the role of science in achieving that balance," said Matt Murray, Baker Center director. "He has encouraged our collaboration with other institutions in projects that embrace different viewpoints and produce recommendations relevant in an increasingly complex global economy."
The recommendations include:
• U.S.-EU collaboration on new and innovative education techniques to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and remain competitive in an increasingly competitive global economy
• An expanded role of the federally run water management organizations to manage water supply in the U.S. as increasing consumption, population growth and climate change will have important implications for water supplies
• A joint U.S.-EU patent system to enhance commercialization of joint research products, since both entities want to improve their innovation systems through joint research activities
• U.S.-EU improvement in energy efficiency through improved economic incentives and enhanced understanding of human behavioral issues to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases
The recommendations come at a time when the U.S. and EU are recovering from severe recessions yet face important decisions about public and private investments in an environmentally constrained world.
"To succeed, these investments should support development of new technologies and improved science and math education and put the United States and the European Union on a path to a low-carbon future," said summit organizer Robert Shelton, a senior fellow for energy and environment at the Baker Center. "These themes were central to summit deliberations."
The U.S. and EU have much in common, including democratic forms of government and market-based economies.
"Because of these shared values, we have considerable potential for improved cooperation in addressing the many economic, technological and energy challenges we both face," said Domenico Rossetti, principal administrator at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation and member of the summit's organizing committee. "This summit created an extensive and productive trans-atlantic dialogue, and these reports capture the essence of that discussion."
The series of reports is available online at https://tiny.utk.edu/Summit .
UT's Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan institute devoted to education and scholarship concerning public policy and civic engagement. For more information, visit http://bakercenter.utk.edu .