Eduardo Maldonado, President at ANI Portugal
When you briefly summarize TAFTIE chairmanship ANI 2020, what do you personally consider as the most successful and important topic you moved forward during the last year?
Looking back, the most successful topic we handled in 2020 was the quick change to address the impact and response of the TAFTIE agencies towards the COVID-19 crisis. It was the perfect example of how all the Agencies can collaborate by exchanging ideas and best practices on a voluntary basis and with a high degree of mobilization on topics of general interest, and thus bringing possibilities for all Agencies to improve their activities. I believe that this was a great contribution towards reaching the common “mission and vison statement” that was our major Presidency goal.
The short answer would thus indeed be: the most successful and important topic we moved forward during the last year was the completion of the “Mission and Vision” statement for TAFTIE.
(Much thanks to SIEA own leadership and involvement in the respective task force. Thanks indeed!)
In this dynamic and uncertain period, what is the main ambition and challenge for TAFTIE in the next 3 years?
After the current efforts to contain and overcome the pandemic, the economic crisis will become the main concern for every country. The rollout of the EU Recovery Programme and the new EU budget shall bring new pressures for innovation agencies to help and incentivize SMEs (and other industry) to recover from the crisis and take full advantage of the large funds available. Other non-EU agencies will have similar national programmes too. Innovation Agencies will need to develop effective implementation policies, with quick response times, under close political pressure and scrutiny. TAFTIE must continue its benchmarking and mutual information actions to offer best practice inspiration and help every Member Agency to effectively deliver on a national level.
We have been used to meet and discuss formally and informally various aspects on multilateral basis, now these personal contacts disappeared and we remained connected only via SW and online solutions. What should we do to keep our members more involved during the meetings under the circumstances we are living in?
Virtual conferences came to stay. I believe that, post-COVID, travelling to meetings will be reduced, but it cannot fully disappear. TAFTIE should adopt a hybrid operational mode, with a mix of virtual and physical meetings. Adopting a purely virtual meetings mode will seriously reduce the potential to achieve results as it will reduce motivation of members to participate. Informal networking during physical meetings is essential and must be resumed as soon as possible. But meetings where participants already know themselves well and have a very targeted mission (e.g., taskforces) can and should continue to do most of their work by virtual means.
What you can see as the most important aspect of ANI membership in the TAFTIE network?
As well known, ANI would prefer to have a more ambitious TAFTIE, with a greater lobbying role at EU level. TAFTIE’s current “Mission and Vision” lacks that important component. So, our main interest in TAFTIE is indeed exchanging best practices with our TAFTIE colleagues in topics that will have a direct impact on our activities, i.e., participating in selected taskforces.