The distance to Europe’s innovation leaders remains.
Last year, the pandemic made many people aware of the importance of research, technology and development, says Sabine Herlitschka, Deputy Chairwoman of the Council for Research and Technology Development (RFTE) – and refers above all to vaccine development. At the same time, however, the importance of digitization in all areas of life has also become apparent. Here, however, the RFTE identifies clear weaknesses in its current report on Austria’s scientific and technological performance. Above all, the expansion of the infrastructure – keyword broadband – should be urgently promoted, but also access to research data must be ensured. It is also important to counteract the shortage of skilled workers.
As further areas in which there is an urgent need to catch up with European innovation leaders such as Finland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, but also Switzerland, the RFTE sees education, innovative company start-ups and the topic of climate and environment in its report, which has been presented annually since 2012. Initiatives are needed here quickly. Because: “There is no vaccination against climate change,” says Herlitschka.
Dedicated implementation openly
Austria is at the forefront especially when it comes to spending money. Effectiveness and efficiency fare rather poorly in comparison. There is also a need for action with regard to the framework conditions for universities. On the other hand, the international network and the attractiveness of the business location are rated as good.
It should also be positively emphasized that the new RTI strategy was launched before the turn of the year, despite the pandemic, said Herlitschka. But now it needs “a committed implementation”. (grail)
(“Die Presse”, print edition, June 12th, 2021)