Our society is currently undergoing several big changes that pose challenges and opportunities for the future. The increasing digitalization and automation, the growing globalization, and improved financial durability offer many excellent opportunities for development. There is more research funding in the system than ever before. On the other hand, our society is vulnerable; we have challenges in relation to inequality, an environment put under severe stress, and more hostile tendencies than we have seen in a long time, despite the good times and economic growth. In our work at the European Commission Independent High Level Group on Maximizing the Impact of EU Research & Innovation Programmes,4 we try to understand and elaborate on these challenges to be able to propose a suitable strategy for future research funding from the European Commission.
I foresee a time when learning is a lifelong commitment, with people spending 10%–20% of their work time continuing their education in order to learn new skills and make oneself relevant as the future unfolds.
With an area of 10 million square kilometers and a population of 740 million, Europe is a substantial region of prosperity and development. Many EU countries lead in rankings of prosperity, education, digitalization, equality, and low corruption.
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