How to Advance Technological Innovations in Europe

IEEE commissioned a supplemental publication asking engineers and policy-makers to weigh in

21 August 2014

This article is part of a series highlighting the work of IEEE’s global offices.

To mark the launch of the European Union Sustainable Energy Week, which was held 23 to 27 June, IEEE sponsored a special issue on “Advancing Innovation: Engineering and Sustainable Development,” a supplement to Parliament Magazine, a bi-weekly publication covering the European Union. This project marks the organization’s continuous engagement with European policy-makers and government officials.

The issue includes a foreword by IEEE president and CEO J. Roberto Boisson de Marca. He wrote about the need for sustainable innovations for smart cities, intelligent-power generation, and the development of the Internet of Things. He says sustainability must be at the core of technological development, ensuring that humanity can benefit from innovative solutions without hampering the future of the next generation of technology.

advancing innvoation Click on image to access the full publication.

Marko Delimar, IEEE secretary who is leading the organization’s activities in Europe, commented on the significant role of renewable energy sources in Europe as “paramount.” The cross-cutting importance of research, development, and education regarding sustainability was discussed by Saurabh Sinha, vice president of IEEE Educational Activities, who wrote this issue cannot be ignored and should be part of educational programs for prospective and current engineers and technologists.

Gianluca Setti, vice president of IEEE Publication Services and Products, discussed the open dissemination of scientific ideas as key for a vibrant and successful research environment. And highlighting the crucial role of EU funding and support to boost innovation throughout Europe, Costas Stasopoulos, director-elect for IEEE Region 8, wrote about the opportunities that the EU’s flagship research program—Horizon 2020—can provide for developing new ideas and projects.

Highlighting how IEEE is assisting cities around the world to create modern and sustainable urban environments, Gilles Betis, chair of the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative Steering Committee, coauthored an article with Carlo Alberto Nucci that addressed a number of challenges currently faced by Europe’s municipalities. (For more on this topic, read The Institute’s June special report on smart cities.)


From the policy-making perspective, the supplement includes contributions from two director generals of the European Commission: Dominique Ristori, director general for energy, and Robert-Jan Smits, director general for research and innovation. Ristori wrote about the commission’s 2030 vision to transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy, stressing the need to ensure and secure sustainable and affordable energy. Smits’ contribution addressed Horizon 2020 and how it can play a major role in meeting the EU’s climate and energy goals. With almost €80 billion to invest over the next seven years, the program will allocate more than €7 billion to energy research and innovation with an emphasis on low-carbon technologies and renewable energy.     

The supplement also included articles by four high-profile Members of European Parliament: Jerzy Buzek, Edit Herczog, Amalia Sartori, and Claude Turmes. Policy-makers who contributed represented various countries and political groups.

To read the special issue, visit

Karine Iffour is the director of IEEE Business Development Europe, based in the IEEE Brussels office.

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