It is clear that the transformative power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is reshaping European firms and industries. The benefits of new technologies and solutions are expected to manifest themselves in new business models, industries and markets, scalable production, more flexible and agile production processes and networks, as well as zero carbon and more sustainable manufacturing systems. But the impact of technologies such as biotech, nanotech, neuro-technologies, green and renewables, ICT and mobile technology, cloud technology, big data, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, internet-of-things, robotics, sensoring, space technology, and drones will vary across sectors and regions. This means policy has a crucial role to play in ‘joining-up’ technologies, sectors and places.
EU regional policy has been instrumental in driving socio-economic growth and prosperity in all EU regions by supporting job creation, competitiveness, economic growth, improved quality of life and sustainable development. Regions have shaped their growth paths by designing and implementing smart specialisation strategies. Nevertheless, while holding out the prospect huge benefits in the long term, the disruptive potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution poses short-term challenges.
Key issues that policymakers need to address include:
1. What green policies can create new industries and new jobs to achieve sustainable economic growth?
2. What sorts of skills and training are required to help firms adopt and leverage new technologies?
3. What are the conditions for promoting a transformative place-based policy for regions and cities?
4. What policy approaches can support regional transformation in both manufacturing and services?
5. How can policy assist the onshoring or reshoring of manufacturing activity so as to strengthen the global competitiveness of EU value chains?
This MAKERS workshop will specifically discuss the policy implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies for EU regions and industries with a mix of policymakers, practitioners and academics.
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Live-streaming will be available in this space.