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EU to stress on R&D to compete with India

A new European Union funding framework for R&D will begin next year to compete with India and China.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 20:05 IST

A new European Union funding framework for research and development will begin next year to compete with India and China. Euro-MP Eluned Morgan said British universities must breed boffins and businessmen if the nation is to compete with the toughest global competitors.

Ms Morgan believes Europe is lagging decades behind the world's most competitive economies. She said, "Europe's R&D investment is currently more than 20 years behind leading economies like the US and Japan. The EU's record on innovation is so poor that it would take us more than 50 years to catch up with the US."

Ms Morgan is to meet academics in Cardiff, Swansea, Aberystwyth, Bangor and Lampeter to discuss how greater links can be formed between universities and industry. Such collaboration, she said, was essential if Europe was to avoid being eclipsed by emerging economies, which have soaring numbers of graduates and a dynamic developing culture of entrepreneurship.

She said, "We also have the added threat of China and India. In the past we have always thought of such economies as poor economies where people work in low-grade jobs, but today's reality is different. In 2004, China and India produced 125,000 computer science graduates, while the figure for the UK was just 5,000.

"That is why when your computer breaks down you are put through to people with amazing knowledge in India."

While discussing the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) at Oxford University she was impressed by the efforts made to combine resources to exploit the business potential of research.

Oxford University's Said Business School has 3,700 researchers, its own innovation company, science park and enterprise centre. Its efforts led to Oxfordshire being awarded the EU Excellence In Innovation Award.

First Published: Jan 18, 2006 20:05 IST