At a special dinner event in Brussels on September 8, 2011, The Honorable Maroš Šefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, Ambassador Richard Boucher, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and Robert-Jan Smits, Director General of DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission addressed the vital need to continue investing in innovation during a time of economic crisis and budget constraints, as well as the ongoing institutional changes in Brussels and what they mean for doing business in Brussels.

On June 29, 2011, Stéphane Hogan, Head of Coordination Unit in Directorate Health of DG Research and Innovation and Giulia Del Brenna, Head of Unit for Food and Healthcare Industries, Biotechnology in DG Enterprise and Industry both of the European Commission, David Beier, Senior Vice President for Global Government and Corporate Affairs at Amgen, and Dr. Val Giddings, Senior Fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation addressed U.S. and EU approaches to spurring innovation in the biotechnology sector in a time of budgetary constraints and growing concerns over rising healthcare costs. The Honorable Bart Gordon, Partner at K&L Gates LLP and former Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology, moderated the discussion.

Google has outgrown its childhood as a prodigy and its adolescence as the only wunderkind on the block. The company was only started 13 years ago, but in “Internet years” that is a generation, and now Google often finds itself in the unaccustomed situation of “chasing tail-lights” in an effort to keep up with the new digital darlings such as Facebook and the “social media” phenomenon. And Google, like any hard-driving grown-up, has accumulated critics and challengers. Anti-trust authorities in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere have become increasingly attentive and aggressive. Privacy advocates have raised concerns about Google maintaining the fresh dominance that has characterized it in years past. Nowadays, the company is regarded in some quarters as “evil” or at least “potentially evil,” rendering its slogan “don’t be evil” ironic as well as jejune.

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The European Institute held a luncheon on Friday, February 18, 2011, with Robert-Jan Smits, Director General of DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission, to discuss Europe’s new Innovation Union strategy.  Found lagging on key innovation indicators, “Europe has come to realize that research and innovation are the key for advanced economies both to remain competitive and to secure social and economic progress” Mr. Smits said. Under the Innovation Union Strategy, Europe is taking important steps to remove barriers and implement a coherent framework to spur innovation. Among the EU’s priorities: the removal of barriers for venture capital funds by 2011; a valorization of international property rights so as to create a sort of “EU-wide eBay for patents and knowledge”; a review of public procurement policies to boost innovation;  and an increase in Research and Development funding. Ultimately, Mr. Smits concluded, Europe will be a “tough competitor” for innovation-based economic growth.

On December 10, 2010, Arkady Dvorkovich, Chief Economic Advisor to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, delivered keynote remarks via teleconference to a special meeting of The European Institute’s Roundtable of EU-U.S.-Russia Triangular Relations.  Focused on the common challenge of maintaining the innovation paradigm in a difficult economic climate, the meeting included opening remarks by His Excellency Jan Matthysen, Ambassador of Belgium to the United States and a panel discussion with Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Co-Chair of the Russia Caucus; Ambassador Vincent Mertens de Wilmars, Diplomatic Advisor to the Belgian Minister of Defense and Former Ambassador of Belgium to the Russian Federation; and Antonio de Lecea, Minister- Principle Advisor for the Delegation of the European Union. The discussion was moderated by The Honorable Clay Lowery, Vice President of International Government Affairs at Cisco Systems, Inc.

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