Citing scientific research and innovation as a critical component in the effort to lift Europe out of the current eurozone crisis, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, visited both Washington, D.C. and Boston last week as part of the ongoing
process of strengthening EU/U.S. cooperation in these fields, this in the face of growing competition from other world regions, most notably Asia.
During her visit, the former Galway TD and Irish government minister, met with leaders in government, research and academia to look at ways to expand and deepen EU-U.S. collaboration in the fields of research and innovation.
She highlighted the European Union’s plans to bolster research and innovation in order to create growth and jobs, most notably under the banner of a research program called “Horizon 2020.”
Geoghegan-Quinn also outlined the EU’s position in the competition for the best and brightest, highlighting opportunities for U.S. researchers in and with Europe.
In Washington, Geoghegan-Quinn met with leading figures in the fields of science and health research as well as the Obama administration and delivered a speech to the European Institute entitled “2020: the new European Program for Research and Innovation and opportunities for transatlantic cooperation.”
In Boston, the commissioner met with, among others, Governor Deval Patrick, and the president of the Massachusetts Senate, Therese Murray. She delivered the keynote speech at an event to highlight opportunities for researchers in Europe organized by the European Commission and EU member states, entitled: “Destination Europe: Your Research and Innovation Opportunities.”
Geoghegan-Quinn explained in an interview to the Echo that while the EU and U.S. were at one level in competition, the overriding priority was one of cooperation, and this was enhanced by means of the Transatlantic Economic Council, which meets twice a year.
“We are competitors who collaborate and cooperate,” she said.
Geoghegan-Quinn said that during her visit to D.C. she had met with a number of Irish scientists based in the Washington area. And though her job was a European one, she said she lost no opportunity to present Ireland as a center of scientific research and innovation.
“Indeed, Dublin is designated the European city of science this year,” she said.
One important project currently being directed out of Ireland, she explained, was the “Glycohit project.”
It was intended, she said, to contribute to the development of reliable and fast diagnostic tests for the early detection of cancer.
The Glycohit consortium consisted of 15 institutions from Europe, the U.S. and beyond and was being coordinated by the National University of Ireland in Galway.