Member states should create ‘synergies’ between recovery plans, Horizon Europe R&I programme – minister

Portuguese Minister of Education Tiago Brandao Rodrigues (L), accompanied by Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor (R) in Lisbon, Portugal, 22 January 2021. [EPA-EFE/ANTONIO PEDRO SANTOS]

Portugal’s science, technology and higher education minister on Wednesday highlighted the need to prioritise the relationship between science and employment, open collaborative research and career development in the areas of innovation and research.

Manuel Heitor, speaking at a videoconference on the future of the robotics sector at European level, revealed that, in the area of research and innovation, the Portuguese chairmanship of the Council of the European Union (EU) will seek to act on three axes, namely “the relationship between science and employment”, “open collaborative research” and “career development”.

On the first point, the Portuguese minister believes that “the growing investment in research and development, especially in information technology systems, needs to go hand in hand with the creation of job opportunities.

In this regard, Manuel Heitor called on EU member states to create “synergies” between post-Pandemic economic recovery plans and the Horizon Europe programme, the EU framework programme for research and innovation for the period 2021 to 2027 and which will be launched on 2 February.

According to the minister, Horizon Europe is a “particularly important project to bring together this idea of more research with better and more jobs”, but also for “open collaborative research, especially across the new frontiers of knowledge”.

“The new balance that we need to acquire requires new knowledge, institutional innovations, new observation methods,” but “this can only be achieved if we really tackle robotics together with action in the green transition,” he said.

For this, “we need to be sure that we develop a more sustainable future with a better balance between economic activity and nature”.

In terms of career development, the minister justified his “concern” with employment and future salaries with the “dissemination of robots” and said that the Portuguese presidency would pay attention to developing European research careers in all areas of knowledge, including robotics, “in order to better promote Europe as a leading area in the world to do research and to make research a long career in the business world and the private sector.

Manuel Heitor today participated in an online conference promoted by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission on the future of robotics at European level and its role in the recovery of European economies in a post-Pandemic context.

(Joana Gomes)

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