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those in regards to regulation: “What would you

like as a product manufacturer? The answer:

that your market is as big and as uniform as

possible. So let us have a European market for

energy products … and let us have it as big as

possible. Let us homogenise regulation and

streamline it and organise it, and then your

market will be 400 million people; you will not

only be the first, but there will also be growth.

“We can then compete because energy is

complex; if Europe knows something, it is about

complex problems. America is a specialist on

its own problems, not complex problems. Asia

is very good at copying; remember that Asia is

an emerging energy show, so they are just

building without looking for efficiency, whereas

in Europe, we are mature and stagnating – we

have a problem that we have to solve, so we

are developing technology that has so far not

been needed.”

Expanding on KIC InnoEnergy’s role in

improving the European energy landscape,

Pavía continued: “We are an enabler and we

are addressing the energy system in a different

way, which is so far improving and is a bit more

efficient. Only through us are systemic

challenges addressed. In previous public private

partnerships, because they were not long term,

they were addressing very small activities and

not addressing systemic problems.

“The best thing we can do is to deliver what we

promised and to have a good track record, and

then no-one will be able to contest anything.

We have delivered over the last five years, and

we intend to increase our path.”

Breaking down the barriers to innovation,

ensuring good communication and bringing

together key innovation actors will help to

ensure the continent can effectively meet its

energy challenges. KIC InnoEnergy is providing

the platform and potential – all that remains is

for Europe’s innovators to lead.

According to the results, 80% of innovative industry leaders come from

European regions, Japan, and the United States. China leads the list of

academic innovative players with a strong presence in all 100 priorities,

with a 40% frequency of occurrence in the top ten rankings, yet the

country’s industrial players are almost absent.

Europe and the United States are the best positioned in the global energy

landscape with both industrial and academic players. The European

players lead some of the thematic fields analysed, such as wind energy,

ocean energy or solar thermal electricity.

Pavía explained that KIC InnoEnergy had recently delivered the findings

of the report to various directorates-general in the European Commission,

describing the investigation as having particular benefits for business:

“The value of this report for industry is that they can identify who the top

innovators across the value chain are in the topics where they want to

develop business, and then consider how to involve them in their needs.

“If we look at the academic world, you see that Asia is outstanding, but

let’s not be fooled by the numbers. As China’s strategy is led by the

government, all the IP-based research in China will not be homed by

SMEs or companies but by the Chinese Academy of Sciences …

because they will have a lot more muscle to protect, defend and develop

this. It’s a country strategy that Europe doesn’t have, to carefully reap

these outstanding positions in the academic world.

“On industry, you see Europe is leading in many sectors. So let’s not be

naïve; let’s be protective, defensive and capitalise on valorising this

research back into Europe. We have a big chance.”


Pavía then described how Europe could suitably maintain a lead in energy

developments compared to its international rivals, drawing attention to

the importance of communication and breaking down barriers, including


H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

Diego Pavía

KIC InnoEnergy CEO



2 0 2 0


S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : E N E R G Y

The KIC CEO said it is

now important to

address over-

intervention in the

energy market, which

has been leading to

higher prices in Europe

© Steve Buissinne