The European Union (EU) is one of the biggest markets in the world, accounting for almost 20% of global GDP. As a result, its member states are among the leading innovators and producers of technology that influence global markets. Europe’s economy has long been dominated by small businesses that have to quickly adapt to changing technologies and consumer needs. As such, it’s no surprise that technological innovation within Europe often leads to some pretty exciting things. Keep reading for four industries that are at the forefront of technology in Europe.
It’s no secret that pharma is one of the most research-intensive industries on Earth. With an order of magnitude between 10 and 100 times more product development spending than any other industry, pharmaceuticals are constantly undergoing R&D to develop new medicines. Some drugs require over a decade of expensive clinical trials before they can come to market, and in the early stages, failure is common and expected. As a result, pharmaceutical industry leaders often turned to Europe’s research-oriented universities for help with R&D.
Pharmaceutical companies such as Germany’s Bayer and Switzerland’s Roche have established subsidiaries or partnerships with European universities to speed up this process by increasing their access to talent and labs. One of the most famous examples is Roche’s deal with the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) to develop drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. It has since become one of their fastest-growing divisions, earning €31 million in one year alone.
While not known for its nuclear prowess, Europe is leading the way in developing renewable energy solutions. The “big three” of wind power are all European companies: Denmark’s Vestas, Spain’s Gamesa, and Germany’s Siemens are the top three turbine producers in the world. Newer entrants to the industry are also based in Europe, such as Italy’s Enel Green Power. Europe has also become the world leader in solar technology, with Germany, Spain, and Italy leading the pack. Much of this success can be attributed to heavy (and controversial) government subsidies for green energy initiatives, which have encouraged research and investment for decades.
Gaming and online media
Europe is a gaming powerhouse, with some of the biggest companies in the world calling it home. Local heavyweights include Activision Blizzard (France), Ubisoft (France), Electronic Arts (Germany), and King Digital Entertainment (UK). On the other end of the spectrum, Europe has been a big contributor to mobile app development.
For example, take online casino games. Nowadays, European entrepreneurs are creating some amazing online games that would rival even the best american online casino. The industry is still young, however, only really taking off about a decade ago. Still, it’s already giving online poker and other casino games a run for their money in terms of popularity.
While Europe has long been a leader in green tech, the industry got a huge boost when cleantech became an official category of investment under Horizon 2020, the EU’s main research and innovation program. At €80 billion over seven years (2014-2020), it is one of the biggest investments ever made by a single entity into green energy initiatives. In addition to this, the European Investment Bank is also throwing its support behind the industry with its €100 million New Opportunities Fund.