In December, Patrick Child (Deputy Director-General for Research and Innovation at European Commission) succeeded John Loughhead as Chair of Mission Innovation’s Steering Committee. The Secretariat invited Patrick to share his vision for the next months.
Since joining Mission Innovation at its inaugural Ministerial meeting in 2016, the European Commission has been a passionate and deeply committed member. We highly value MI as a catalyst for cooperation between governments, research bodies and the private sector. Accelerating the clean energy transition is an integral part of the global drive towards a low carbon future, and the development of innovative clean energy technologies lies at the heart of this challenge.
Over the last five years, we have witnessed significant success. The agreement signed in Paris in 2015 has led to a dramatic increase in public investment in clean energy innovation. For me personally, one of the greatest accomplishments of the initiative is the creation of a global community of the willing, committed to working together to develop the next generation of clean energy technologies the world needs. From Ministers, CEOs and investors, to innovators, climate champions and research experts, we now have a dynamic tribe of change-makers finding ways to make clean energy cheaper, more reliable and delivered at pace.
I am delighted to take on the role as Chair of the MI Steering Committee, just as the initiative gears up to a new level of ambition from next year. The second phase of Mission Innovation will build on our successes whilst recognising the need to shift our focus toward outcomes that will further accelerate the pace of innovation. The Innovation Platform, which essentially builds on our current programmes, will complemented by highly ambitious Missions in areas where accelerated effort is both needed and has tremendous potential.
As a voluntary coalition with no written constitution, the Steering Committee plays a crucial role. This will be particularly true over the next months as MI prepares for the launch of MI 2.0. As Chair, my priorities are the following:
- Member engagement and inclusiveness – ensuring that countries can deliver their clean energy innovation priorities through Mission Innovation, stimulating global cooperation in the process. I will also steer a discussion on the principles and commitments needed for the next phase, including the potential accession of new members that can benefit from, and contribute to, MI’s goals;
- The delivery of a high-impact launch at MI-6, to be hosted by Chile in 2021. Our aim is to ensure the engagement and commitment of Ministers and other key stakeholders and alliances. COP26, billed as the most important summit since Paris in 2015, is another important milestone for MI, and I am already in discussions with the UN team – they anticipate that MI 2.0 has the potential to be a significant outcome of the summit in November next year;
- A robust and well-resourced governance structure. MI’s informal, voluntary structure makes it unique, agile, cooperative and action-oriented. Without the cumbersome procedures that often accompany international initiatives, we can move fast and make consensus-based decisions. However, we need to match our level of ambition with a well-resourced governance structure. All members will have a role to play and I will be urging members to commit to the challenge, also recognising the great opportunities that being part of a dynamic virtual global team offers.
I look forward to working closely with the Steering Committee and particularly with my two Vice-Chairs – Drew Leyburne of Canada and Javiera Aldunate of Chile – in these endeavours. I would like to thank John Loughhead for his excellent leadership of the Steering Committee over the last year and the Head of Secretariat Jennie Dodson and her team for designing and driving many of the initiatives under development.
Deeply honoured by the confidence the MI membership have entrusted to me, I look forward to steering the ship as our initiative enters its next phase. I am convinced that MI remains as relevant today as it did when world leaders launched it in Paris in 2015.