The HLG is an independent, tripartite group of innovation experts from the EU institutions (European Council and Commission), Member State governments, leading interntional business, and academia. It is tasked to think outside the box and advise the EU institutions and national governments with operational recommendations on how to improve the framework conditions for innovation in the EU.
The HLG was launched under the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in December 2011. Its tripartite composition (public, private, and academia) allows the Group to produce both horizontal and operational recommendations, directly addressed to the decision makers in the European Institutions and Member States.
In its first report (2012), the HLG developed the concept of European Innovation Ecosystems. The Group's ideas were presented directly to the EU Ministers responsible for trade, economy, industry, research and innovation at the formal and informal meeting of the Competitiveness Council (COMPET) in May 2013.
Thanks to the positive reception of the report and its recommendations, the HLG was asked to re-convene and continue its work in a second phase. This took place from December 2013 to September 2014 and resulted in a comprehensive report - the "Blueprint". The Blueprint was again presented to Council as well as the (then-)newly elected European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker and since then serves as important reference for structural reform and modernisation initiatives in the EU.
The HLG is now in its third and final phase of its work, which focussses specifically on the practical implementation of the Blueprint. To this end, the Group has teamed up with leading scientific institutes and has established several expert working groups to further develop and deepen the recommendations provided by the Blueprint.
Mandate & Political Patronage
The HLG received its mandate from the Polish presidency in 2011. It was tasked to:
"Prepare a series of recommendations in absolute independence and to create out-of-the-box reflections, forward-thinking and perhaps even politically bold recommendations on how to redesign, develop and manage an encompassing innovation policy in the EU."
Following the Polish presidency (2011), the work of the HLG was continued by the Irish (2013) and Italian presidencies (2014). At the Group's general meeting in Rome in July 2014, it was requested to set up dedicated working groups on strategic EU policy areas and to develop hands-on recommendations with a special focus on implementation.
The three current working groups focus on i) digitalisation & industry 4.0; ii) resilience and the Circular Economy, and iii) governance system modernisation. At its most recent meeting in Brussels in January 2016, a forth working group on welfare state innovation was added, which will commence its work in 2017.
Since the beginning, EPPA holds the mandate to manage the Secretariat and research team of the Group under the responsibility of its Director, Prof. Dr. Stefan Schepers. Stefan Schepers is also Visiting Professor at Henley Business School, University of Reading (UK).