Main outcomes from the first Innovation & Entrepreneurship Expert Group roundtable

The first Think NEXUS Workshop took place in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center , Washington D.C. on 10th July 2019, in parallel with the GCTC Expo. During the Workshop the 3 Expert Groups had their first round of face-to-face discussions, which were focused on fostering next EU-US collaboration over NGI thematic areas.

During the first Innovation & Entrepreneurship Expert Group discussion, experts encouraged to address friction points in terms of bilateral collaboration between the EU and the US. Some of the most relevant aspects that were considered during the round table are:

  • Concept of innovation.  Definitions matter; it’s hard to have effective understanding and build on concepts without them. One of the basic discussions that took place was about the vision of ‘innovation’ itself, and the role that private and public sectors should play in it, which slightly differs in each ecosystem – Innovation of the market versus technological innovation. Innovation in the USA has a clear go-to-market implication.
  • Role of public administration. Public agencies struggle to manage a landscape where technology changes at so rapid pace that is not realistic to consider the government as a thought leader in innovation. However, there are 2 potential aspects where policy can have a significant role: 1) allow innovation to happen, as regulation can get in the way of disruption; 2) identify how to bring society into the equation, highlighting the social issues and making them relevant. Technology sector may face the risk to lose the trust from the citizens if cases like privacy breaches and unauthorised exploitation of personal data continue. Policy should be adapted to a local vision.   In the case of Europe, the EC has a much stronger influence over the innovation ecosystem as a consequence of the weighty public funding instruments, and its regulatory strategy. A few experts consider this should not be the way to go as this top-down approach may create inefficiencies in the system and leaks in terms of resources.
  • Future of Work. Europe and the USA often have a different interpretation of the achievements/KPIs when it comes to the market impact of innovation.
  • Single Market. While the US already works as a unified market removing key differences between online and offline worlds, breaking down the barriers to cross-border online activity, the readiness of the European ‘Digital Single Market’ vision still lags behind. Up until now, EU citizens and businesses have often faced barriers when using online tools and services. These barriers mean that consumers have restricted access to some goods and services, businesses cannot reap all benefits from digitisation, and governments and citizens cannot fully benefit from this digital transformation.
  • Cultural gaps. Regardless of the multiple efforts towards a EU-US collaboration, there is a cultural divide that prevent an effective and stronger Transatlantic partnership. Europe has already achieved a mature level of collaboration among its member countries, often facilitated by common frameworks. However, when it comes to working with US partners, there are a number of significant differences in terms of culture, such as:
    • Semantics;
    • Communication;
    • Entrepreneurship in universities; and
    • Culture of failure.

Partners in both ecosystems interested in fostering a bilateral collaboration must understand that cultural divide is an issue and, therefore, need to make efforts to adapt to each other. One of the proposals suggested was to educate US partners into the European mind-set.

  • Joint narrative. It is crucial to identify shared ‘pains’ and propose strategic plans that will allow us to target priorities and objectives towards the Digital Economy and the evolution of Internet. It is important to recognize — and then reinforce — the fundamental principles and programmes that can underpin like-minded cooperation and global competitiveness in Focus Areas such as 5G and Artificial Intelligence around privacy, openness, trust and diversity.
  • Collaboration scheme. One of the main conclusions of the Expert Group was the lack of a proper and agile platform for collaboration between regions around technology innovation. A balanced instrument -not 100% sponsored by public or private funds, as this approach does not fully fit neither region- that could support and drive non-partisan leadership on forward-looking Transatlantic partnerships around innovation and entrepreneurship.

Stay tuned to know more about the outcomes of the Expert Group discussions!

[1] Cf. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/

Main outcomes from the first Science and Technology Group roundtable

The first Think NEXUS Workshop took place in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. on 10th July 2019, in parallel with the GCTC Expo. During the Workshop, the 3 Expert Groups had their first round of face-to-face discussions, which focused on fostering future EU-US collaboration over NGI thematic areas.

The overall approach of this 1st ‘Science and Technology’ Expert Group discussion was to allow all experts to brainstorm about a pre-defined set of questions. However, in many cases, additional topics popped up during the discussion.

One of the first key topics that all experts raised is the fact that, in general, S&T polices need to synchronize with technology developments, as in many cases policies are considered to be obsolete. Moreover, the need for a joint funding scheme between the EU and US should be of high priority for both regions, which need to collaborate instead of competing. Another relevant issue to policy makers is the communication/coordination bottleneck between policy makers and funding agencies from both regions.

Adding to the above, most experts agreed that current networks are struggling to support NGI related research experiments as they are commercial focused and need to be significantly updated. In parallel with the previous statement, all experts concluded that Joint Experimentation Testbeds & Networks are needed, while the need of engaging big players (platforms such as Google, Amazon, etc.) to offer infrastructure for research is vital.

Experts also agreed on what are the key NGI technologies and also which are the most important characteristics that these technologies should have, in order to serve the purpose of the future internet. In addition, all experts agreed to the fact that standardisation bodies, industrial representatives and user representatives should also be included in the NGI discussion.

In conclusion, the Expert Group agreed that there are many options for transatlantic collaboration. Thus, topics that are not too reliant on the involvement of competing companies (e.g. that address world-wide societal challenges, or that focus on low-TRL fundamental research) are promising candidates. The meeting led to a fruitful discussion of numerous important aspects that helped both sides to understand in more detail the initiatives, the players, and their focus on either side.

Overview & Outcomes (in a nutshell)

  • Key Technologies: IoT, Digital ledger technology, Big Data, Trust & Identity, Cloud computing, Edge, AI, Real time control, Smart Infrastructures, 5G, Cloud to Edge, Edge to Edge Communication Technologies, Intelligent Operating Systems
  • Characteristics of Technologies: Enable mobility, more visual, less complex, more secure, autonomous deployment systems, data-centric services, distribution of computation elements (decentralised), distributing computation
  • Organic & Intelligent Internet

Key Suggestions (in a nutshell)

  • Formal Collaboration Mechanism between EU and US is needed for getting great results
  • The need to engage Standardisation bodies, Industrial Stakeholder Groups and User Representatives Groups
  • Policies need to synchronize with technologies
  • Identify Key Application Areas: Connected Healthcare, Global Challenges, Disaster Relief
  • Need for a joint branding: introduce NGI terminology in the US funding environment.

Stay tuned to know more about the outcomes of the Expert Group discussions!

Main outcomes from the first Policy Expert Group roundtable

The first Think NEXUS Workshop took place in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. on 10th July 2019, in parallel with the GCTC Expo. During the Workshop, the 3 Expert Groups had their first round of face-to-face discussions, which focused on fostering future EU-US collaboration over NGI thematic areas.

Regarding the Policy Expert Group roundtable, the group started the day by identifying the topics / areas that were considered of relevance for the discussions. Thus, the first exchanges within the policy group tackled the identification of the main challenges the internet will have to face in the next 5 to 10 years.

Furthermore, this workshop enabled the experts to identify a first set of key challenges that are to be further explored within the next developments of the project.

Main outcomes:

NGI cooperation support schemes:

As a first observation, experts noted that EU and US innovation support schemes were intrinsically different when considering NGI. Transversal cooperation between research, industries and policy makers has no equivalent in the US. Moreover, most bilateral cooperation schemes do not provide funding for the other part, i.e., the EC finances EU stakeholders and US agencies their nationals. Thus, joint or coordinated funding schemes are lacking for allowing EU/US cooperation, notably concerning entrepreneurship support.

Key parameters: (1) Trust management in complexities environments; (2) Security intelligent trade-off (efficiency / security); and (3) Pilot Project in the field of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs).

US and EU standardization bodies’ collaboration across NGI technologies:

As the NGI initiative explores new fields and technologies that are creating new international standards. These NGI-related technologies could confer with the opportunities to EU and US standardization bodies to set cooperation mechanisms breaking out silos and, thus, fostering the fast-tracking of standards, benefiting both sides in the international competition.

Key parameters: (1) IoT developments and NGI principles integration; and (2) Standardization bodies cooperation mechanisms.

Developing a common language on Artificial Intelligence:

AI is a major technology the NGI builds upon. As such, the development of solutions generate a new field of ruling for policy makers. However, the semantics behind AI-technologies and applications are not shared between both sides of the Atlantic (and event within each region itself). Cooperation on AI taxonomy could confer the opportunity to better tie EU and US developments and mutual understanding, thus fostering this technology’s growth.

Key parameters: (1) Translating AI developments in understandable terms for policy makers; (2) Algorithm fairness & transparency; and (3) Identifying the data per AI applications.

Building cooperation upon shared values:

The questions of trust and security in online voting systems as well as the ‘social cybersecurity’ (tackling aspects such as misinformation, etc.) of citizens were notably deemed as relevant within EU/US collaboration schemes, in line with the values these regions share.

In conclusion, the Expert Group agreed that there are many options for transatlantic collaboration, and it was discussed which topics and areas are most suitable for collaboration initiatives.

Key parameters: (1) Trust management in complexities environments; (2) GDPR / Californian policy; (3) Security intelligent trade-off (efficiency / security); (4) Pilot Project in the field of Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs); (5) Digital divide.

Stay tuned to know more about the outcomes of the Expert Group discussions!