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Statement by Professor Orla Feely on the Commencement of the Austrian Presidency of the European Council

Tuesday, 03 July, 2018 


Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact

Professor Orla Feely, Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact at University College Dublin (UCD) has today warmly welcomed the commencement of the Austrian Presidency of the European Council.

The Presidency, which started on 1 July and which runs until 31 December 2018, is the third time Austria has hosted the Presidency, after 1998 and 2006.

The focus of the current trio programme is on investment in growth and jobs, including research and innovation, cross-border infrastructure, connectivity and education, as well as preparing for Horizon Europe.

Professor Orla Feely said, "Key themes of the current trio programme relate to the further implementation of the United Nations ‘Agenda 2030’ for sustainable development and investment in growth and jobs, including research and innovation. UCD believes that research capacity, scientific progress and improved technology will play a significant role in tackling global challenges, including those in agri-food, and thus achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

"UCD therefore welcomes the Austrian Presidency and looks forward to continuing to work with the Council of the European Union on such priority areas. In particular we will support the development of Horizon Europe.”

"The ninth edition of the framework programme will continue well-established funding instruments but will also provide impetus with respect to the new European Innovation Council and developments towards stronger mission orientation of research and innovation.”

“The Austrian Presidency will focus on European Council conclusions on the European Research Area, which will give prominence to activities that hold out the promise of major progress towards a Single Market for Knowledge, such as the European Open Science Cloud, where UCD is advancing a number of key initiatives.”

"The challenges of digitalisation, climate change and sustaining food production, for instance, are major factors in driving demand for research. The UN SDGs provide an important reference framework for the demand of research and innovation. This ties in well with UCD’s initiative to drive awareness of the contribution of science to the SDGs. UCD is committed to enabling a capacity for sustainable agri-food production and looks forward to contributing to the Presidency discussions.”

"UCD proposes an Infrastructure for Sustainable Development to solve this challenge by bringing multi-actor partnerships together combining production strategies, processing optimisation and nutrition impact, with sustainable practices across the food chain, from producer to consumer.”

“Europe is losing competitiveness and it has been difficult for it to pursue agri-food policy objectives such as; achieving a circular bioeconomy; delivering safe, nutritious, high quality and affordable food and decarbonising the economy. The innovation required to drive competitiveness in these areas is a challenge which needs human capital with as yet little understood skills and capabilities.”

"At the heart of the proposed new approach is the circular bioeconomy, maximising food production and processing cycles to optimise the value of our resources and minimise environmental impact. The social, business, policy, ethical and regulatory frameworks will distribute value across the chain from the producer to the consumer."

"I would like to congratulate the Austrian Presidency on a comprehensive series of planned science and innovation-related meetings. In particular the ESFRI conference and the International Conference on Research Infrastructures will be important occasions to consider the future of research infrastructure capacity in the European Union and how to sustain the supported foundation. The involvement of smaller nations such as Ireland needs careful reflection to ensure access by all.”

"UCD welcomes the Austrian Presidency and looks forward to strengthening our partnerships with Austrian institutions."