ECSEL-Austria Conference - The review

ECSEL-Austria Conference: Successful Industrial Policy Must Be European

A medley of specialized lectures, the presentation of the results of a study, an award ceremony, and a podium discussion made it clear yet again what role a national research, development, and networking platform, such as ECSEL-Austria, can play. Led by its chairman, Stefan Rohringer, ECSEL-Austria provides an umbrella that brings together experts and their views, creates synergies, and ensures that the system as an interaction of forces continues to function. More than 70 international guests participated in the hybrid event on the 18th of October.

Successful industrial policy – but how?
The highlight of the event was the podium discussion between prominent personalities and high-level representatives from industry and Henriette Spyra, section head in the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology. The contributions revolved around a successful European industrial policy and were moderated by Erich Prem. Recommendations for a European industrial policy were given by Wolfgang Polt/Joanneum Research and Erich Prem/eutema during the presentation of the results of the study “New European Industrial Policy with Conclusions for Austria”, which had been commissioned by the research board. The European policy to date has been based on technology-neutral action for many years and has increasingly fallen behind others such as Asia. Wolfgang Polt stated that “Successful industrial policy will have to accept the societal missions of the ecological and digital transformation – and without being European, it will not be able to be successful”. In his presentation, he drew the conclusion that Austria urgently needs its own, integrated concept for industrial policy. At the end of the day, it is about domestic contributions on a European level such as IPCEI and CBAM, the definition of individual foci, the provision of appropriate resources, and the linking of industrial policy with other societal policy domains and goals. One of the most important superordinate goals is the digital sovereignty of industrial and innovation policy.

IPCEI as a strategic course
An example of an important step in the right direction is IPCEI Microelectronics/Communication Technologies, as illuminated by Michael Jerne/NXP, Herbert Pairitsch/Infineon and Hannes Voraberger/AT&S. The IPCEI Microelectronics/Communication Technologies can be seen as a strategic course setting that provides domestic companies with the necessary impulses. According to Klaus Bernhardt, expert in the Trade Association for the Electrical and Electronic Industry, FEEI, “this is one of the European measures to strategically contain the chip shortage. Austria has been active since the first IPCEI Microelectronic. The Austrian companies are thus able to strengthen their technological competences and production in the really important areas of climate protection and digitalization.”

Master technology, but also protect it
Helmut Leopold and Stephan Krenn, both from AIT, clarified in their lecture “European digital sovereignty and global competitiveness by secure mobile working and smart data sharing” how complex systems are today, and that data security will play a central role in them. To demonstrate this, they brought an example from the automotive industry: The automotive sector is currently undergoing a period of profound change with the digitalization of intra-vehicle systems that are required for automation, connectivity, and shared mobility of vehicles. Today’s vehicles contain up to 150 electronic control units and around 100 million lines of code. This is four times more than a fighter jet and will increase to 300 million lines of code by 2030. The aim is not only to master this technology but to be able to protect it.

Note: Please find here the official "Ratsempfehlung für eine Neuausrichtung der österreichischen Industriepolitik" published on Oct 20, 2021.

ECSEL-Austria: "neue europäische Industriepolitik" - Podiumsdiskussion

Photo credits: ECSEL-Austria/Kurt Keinrath

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