InnovEIT Athens brought together the manufacturing industry!
Digitalisation and artificial intelligence are crucial topics in the manufacturing industry. A conference on these topics, which EIT Manufacturing had organised in the framework of the InnovEIT weeks, shed light on how digital production and artificial intelligence contributes to sustainability.
The event proved highly relevant for representatives of the European Commission and national governments as well as entrepreneurs and industry delegates. They discussed several facets of the technologies as such, but also touched on challenges and opportunities sustainability brings.
With new technologies in the room, there is always the question of how they impact society as a whole – particularly how the workforce is impacted. Professor George Chryssolouris, EIT Manufacturing Supervisory Board Vice Chair, welcomed the INNOVEIT Athens attendees referring to the importance of the manufacturing sector for Greece, but also for the whole of Europe.
Then, Dr. Christos Dimas, Deputy Minister of Development and Investments from the Government of Hellenic Republic, opened the event highlighting the significance of data and innovation in Greece with the following words: “Up until recently the Greek state did not know how many start-ups we had, in which sector they were, how many people they employed, what budgets they had – we had absolutely no data for the ecosystem. When you don’t have data, it is difficult to implement policies that have a great impact. With the National Council of Research, Innovation and Technology, criteria for start-ups have been defined and a register has been set up: Elevate Greece. Thus, we have mapped the Greek ecosystem to a large extent. This not only allowed putting policies in place but also attracted a lot of private investors.”
Gintaras Vilda, CEO Manufacturing Innovation Valley & former Vice-Minister of Economy & Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania, pointed out: “We should not be afraid of technologies at all. For many years, technologies have helped us to not work so hard as our grandparents, to live better, live in a better environment, act in a better environment, have better education. Most of the things that develop in societies come to us because of technologies.”
“Citizens should trust the work with technologies,” said Jürgen Tiedje, Head of Unit, European Commission DG RTD in support of this. “But innovation organisms should make it accessible for them. This is how we join forces in Europe to create competitiveness.”
Klaus Beetz, CEO of EIT Manufacturing, also encouraged the attending speakers and audience to take a positive approach towards sustainability itself: “We should look at sustainability not as a challenge, but as an opportunity. Developing green technologies in Europe will strengthen our competitiveness.” Giving the example of remanufacturing, he continued: “For sure, there will be a market for remanufacturing, a world-wide market. And if we develop the technologies for remanufacturing, sell them around the world, this will bring our vision into existence: Manufacturing innovation led by Europe.”
The speakers emphasized the importance of collaboration and creating and harnessing networks across politics, industry, academia and research to bring innovations to life.
The event closed with the official opening of the sixth innovation hub under the umbrella of EIT Manufacturing, the Athens-based EIT Manufacturing South East.