Health and mobility given pride of place
In Belgium, the theme is "Technological innovation for a smarter mobility", a challenge also taken up in Spain under the theme of "Technological innovation for sustainable mobility". These two choices reflect the importance of this topic at a time when we are looking to create new mobility models with a view to improving the quality of life in towns and elsewhere (limiting CO2 emissions and noise pollution or providing improved access for people).
Another topic reflecting one of the major concerns of our era is health. The French competition is focussing on chronic diseases ("Technological innovation and chronic diseases") while Italy has turned its attention to stem cells ("Bioengineering and stem cells: ideas for life”). Once again, a longer life expectancy and the need to treat an increasing number of pathologies mean that society is confronted by a very real problem. A huge capacity for innovation is required to implement less complex practices and treatments which make it easier to care for the patient while taking into consideration the cost this represents to the institutions.
While it waits for the other participating countries to announce the theme of their competitions (Portugal just announced its theme would be “Innovation and technology promoting social inclusion”), the Foundation is already excited by the possibilities offered by these topics which are based on societal issues and will doubtless fire the interest of a host of talented candidates.