CEPS Task Force

Unleashing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Europe

People, Places and Policies


Innovation and entrepreneurship are key pillars of economic growth and well-being. They may also serve as a crucial driver of Europe’s future economic (and possibly political) recovery. Everywhere around the world, innovation and entrepreneurship are evoked as major avenues for achieving economic growth and competitiveness, while recent debates also aim at reconciling sustainability and governance. This should come as no surprise: economic theory is unanimous in concluding that both innovation and entrepreneurship are key contributors to long-term well-being. Over the past two decades, however, Europe has been performing rather poorly, at least on average, in both dimensions. On the one hand, in recent years, many political leaders have denounced the existence of an ‘innovation emergency’ in Europe. At the same time, many commentators have observed Europe’s inability to create a suitable environment in which entrepreneurship can flourish.

The new CEPS Task Force on “Unleashing Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Europe: People, Places and Policies” will look at the key aspects of the debate on how to boost these two dimensions in Europe. It will adopt a dynamic, forward-looking view of EU policy, in which technological development, new business models, the expected changes in the labour market they may bring about and the evolving role of public and private players as platforms and actors of innovation are fully taken into account. The Task Force will gather together a group of top-level academics and practitioners, as well as EU and national institutions, to reflect on and take stock of our understanding of any progress achieved in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship. It will then consider the essential elements to pursue in a ‘future-proof’, ambitious agenda for Europe — one that is much more pro-active, rather than the reactive response that is characteristic of the recent past, particularly when it comes to the role of the state and certainly compared to the US and successful Asian ‘tigers’.

The Task Force agenda will feature, inter alia, the role of governments and established companies in their relationship with new companies and individual entrepreneurs; the future of education policy in the creation of skills and competences that meet future market needs; and ways to boost not only entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial policies but also political entrepreneurs. Special attention will be paid to the relevant parts of the Juncker plan for a European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the role of the European Investment Bank. The outcome would be a roadmap whereby the triple helix of academia, business and government’s respective roles (producing knowledge, bringing innovation to the market and fixing market failures) is replaced by a more dynamic, holistic and open architecture in which people, places and policies interact beyond silos and institutional borders.

Chairman: José Manuel Leceta, Chairman and Co-founder of the Insight Foresight Institute; former Director of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT); and former International Director of the Spanish Innovation Agency (CDTI), Madrid

Coordinator: Andrea Renda, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Regulatory Affairs Programme, CEPS

Totti Könnölä, Managing Director and Co-founder, Insight Foresight Institute
Felice Simonelli, Researcher, Regulatory Policy Unit, CEPS


1st meeting, 23 September 2015: Understanding the Links between Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Growth

2nd meeting, 22 October 2015: People-Driven Innovation: Fostering talent and will for entrepreneurship

3rd meeting, 18 November: Places. Entrepreneurship and Innovation Spaces: Established vs. young firms

4th meeting: Policies. The Role of the State as Entrepreneur: From facilitator to innovator

5th meeting: Final Presentation of the Task Force Report

For more details and registration, click here to download the prospectus and the registration form of the Task Force.

More information:
For any questions contact Andrea Renda.

Andrea Renda

Senior Research Fellow and Head of Global Governance, Regulation, Innovation & Digital Economy

+32 (0)2 229 39 17

Felice Simonelli

Associate Senior Research Fellow