The European Research and Innovation Days (R&I Days), one of the European Commission’s flagship annual event, just concluded, marking a significant step towards shaping Europe’s future in research and innovation. Over the course of three days, the fifth edition of this event unfolded both in person at Tour and Taxis, Brussels, and online, bridging distances and bringing together a global audience.

Central to the discussions was the role of European companies in the transformation to meet the overarching goals of the European Green Deal. It’s clear that decarbonisation is not a solitary venture but requires a comprehensive government approach to transform industries fundamentally. For Europe to lead in global competitiveness and stay at the forefront of development, there is an unwavering need for research and innovation.

The second day of the event, during the “Energy Intensive Industries: From R&I to Deployment” session, a video created by EEIP for the RETROFEED project was showcased. This video served as a introduction, setting the stage for the subsequent discourse on the critical role of research and innovation in the decarbonization of energy-intensive industries.

The RETROFEED project, as highlighted in the EEIP video, developed and impomemented innovative solutions to enhance the sustainability of industrial processes. By focusing on retrofitting existing industrial plants with advanced technologies, RETROFEED aims to significantly reduce their carbon footprint, aligning perfectly with the session’s emphasis on the urgent need for scalable and sustainable industrial transformation.

Speakers like Henriette Spyra, Director General Innovation & Technology at Austrian Federal Ministry , and Ilse Kenis, Chief Carbon Officer at GM Carmeuse Technologies emphasised the importance of integrating research and innovation results into practical applications, speeding up the transition towards greener industries.

Backlash against the Green Deal was acknowledged, but the sentiment was countered with a strong call for collaboration. The future is dependent on collective action and the R&I Days stood as a testament to the power of united efforts. The conversations and workshops underscored that the road to a sustainable future is through collaboration.

The R&I Days brought to light the success stories of EU-funded research and innovation projects and their societal impacts. It was an invitation for the public to engage in discourse about the value of continued investment in these areas.