This week, from March 10-11, over 2000 people from a variety of sectors involved in research, innovation and science gathered to take part in the 2nd Innovation Convention. The event, held this year in Brussels, is a key initiative of the Innovation Union, which aims to make Europe a more innovation-friendly environment – an idea that lies at the core of the European Union’s 2020 strategy.
This year’s Convention attracted a whole range of inspirational speakers from top CEOs to young innovators and provided a platform to debate and inform innovation policies as well as a great networking opportunity.
A remarkable highlight of this year’s convention was a special selection of “Innovation Showcases” which gave the visitors a chance to explore a number of interactive demonstrations related to some of the most fascinating ideas, products and services such as 3D-printing, nanotechnology and supersonic transport. It is worth noting that the majority of the showcases were made possible – directly or indirectly – by EU-funded research projects. The field of robotics that excites us most was represented this year by the efAA project, which develops new ways of having meaningful social interactions with robots. The showcase featured an iCub robot that engaged visitors in a social musical game.
The closing ceremony was marked by the announcement of the European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) prize, which this year went to Barcelona “for introducing the use of new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens”. The prize was established by the European Commission as a means of encouraging cities to make efforts to promote innovation and improve the quality of their citizens’ lives.