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Innovation is part of Huawei’s DNA

Story by
David Harmon

David Harmon

Director EU Public Affairs, Huawei

Huawei is highly committed to developing basic sciences - and is well positioned to support the successful political agenda of the EU over the next five years

EU leaders, the European Commission and the European Parliament are all supporting strong levels of investment for the research, innovation and science sectors in Europe during the next budgetary period, 2021-2027. And rightly so.

Twenty percent of all global research and development takes place within the EU Member States, and a further third all high quality scientific articles that are published globally, and subject to peer review, emanate from Europe.

Investment in the research, innovation and science sectors is not some theoretical exercise. It is a positive investment in the European economy and serves the purpose of boosting economic competitiveness and strengthening the European industrial base.

The intellectual, engineering and educational capacities of the people living in Europe is of a very high level. But a key challenge for Europe will be to convert this knowledge of basic sciences into the delivery of innovative products, goods and services. This, in turn, will help to transform Europe into a leadership position in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Huawei in Europe

Huawei has been operating in Europe since 2000. We employ 14 000 people here, including 2 200 researchers, 80% of whom are locally hired.

Huawei is highly committed to developing basic sciences. Innovative activity is in the corporate DNA of Huawei and we are well positioned to support the successful political agenda of the EU over the next five years.

The next multi-annual framework in Europe 2021-2027 is very much backing the development of the digital sector in Europe. In this respect, close collaboration between the university, research and private sectors will be an important element in the successful delivery of new ICT products to the marketplace.

Huawei cooperates with 150 universities across the length and breadth of Europe in a variety of different research disciplines. We have 230 technical partnerships with different European educational institutes and research bodies. We operate 23 different research facilities in 12 countries in Europe, including Germany, France, Italy, UK, Poland, Belgium, Sweden, Finland and in Ireland.

Private sector investment needs to increase

While Huawei ranked 5th in the world in 2018 for R&D investment, according to the EU Industrial Scoreboard, not everyone matches Huawei’s commitment. Overall, private sector R&D investment in Europe stands at just 1.3%. This is well below other developed countries around the world. 

Thankfully, though, Europe does have the Horizon research programme, in which Huawei is an active participant, and its next edition will stimulate more private sector investment in the research, innovation and science sectors. Its main focus is to support basic and applied scientific effort right through to the launch of innovative products and services on to the market.

The ICT sector threads and interweaves through all the key parts of Horizon Europe, a clear recognition that technology is transforming the operation of the health, manufacturing, energy, agriculture, financial services, transport, Smart City and media sectors.

Indeed, we are embarked on a digital transformation journey, from which there will be no turning back. The number of Internet connections will rise globally, from over 10 billion last year, to a minimum of 100 billion connections by 2025. ICT have, as such, become a key enabling technology for the transformation process of vertical industry sectors.

Green Deal

Cluster 3 in Pillar 2 of Horizon Europe is dedicated to ensuring that the EU will be equipped with the requisite technological know-how to address key global challenges such as climate change and energy efficiency.

Energy-intensive industries account for 20% of all global greenhouse emissions. New breakthrough and disruptive technologies are going to be required if the EU climate change targets are to be successfully achieved.

In very practical terms, this means that the research, innovation and science sectors will be playing central roles in delivering the Green Deal for Europe. 

Key enabling technologies such as microelectronics, photonics, advanced materials, nanotechnology, life science technology and advanced manufacturing are all heavily supported within this specific industry and digital cluster of Horizon Europe. Together, they will contribute greatly to making Europe “fit for the Digital Age” – a central plank of EU policymaking for the foreseeable future.

Advances in the fields of cloud computing, robotics, computing, big data and artificial intelligence will be underpinned by the building of robust cybersecurity systems that respect privacy.

And this strengthening of Europe in the fields of software and engineering technologies will position the EU very well as new self-driving vehicles come on stream.