Extensive research and innovation is the key to achieving sustainable growth for Bangladesh and its Vision 2021, speakers said at a programme yesterday.
They made the remarks while talking at a seminar on EU Horizon 2020: Opportunity for Bangladesh.
Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) hosted the event in the capital.
Horizon 2020 is the world largest and flagship research programme of European Union, (EU) spending €80 billion (Tk719 billion) for the period of 2014 to 2020.
The EU research focuses on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges, alongside raising awareness among the scientific communities of Bangladesh about the use of European Union fund for research and innovation.
“Research in agriculture, trade, food security, climate change, blue economy, ICT, e-commerce, software, skill development and green energy is certainly necessary to overcome future challenges and make development sustainable,” said Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, speaker of the Parliament.
“EU-Bangladesh partnerships can pave the way for the latter to achieve enhanced food security, poverty alleviation, education levels, infrastructure development, Blue Economy, and Digital Bangladesh,” she said.
“We have to focus on the Vision 2021 and Vision 2041 as well, and Horizon 2020 can aid the country in fulfilling those targets,” she added.
Discussants said that long-term sustainable growth cannot be acheived without improving research and innovation performance.
The H2020 programme covers almost each and every field of research and innovation.
“We have so far observed that Bangladesh has taken very little advantage of this programme,” said Pierre Mayaudon, head of EU delegation to Bangladesh.
This is because of lack of awareness and misconception that it is not for Bangladesh, added Mayaudon.
EU Horizon 2020 can help Bangladesh achieve sustainable growth, he said, hoping that the seminar will work as an eye opener to make scientists, as well as more people, aware of it.
“The scarcity of resources makes any prospect of collaboration to overcome these challenges very desirable. This north-south partnership prospect aims to bring in the much-required development,” said MCCI president Nihad Kabir.
In attaining Vision 2021, Bangladesh needs to explore the opportunity of using the expertise and knowledge of the European firms, she added.
Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman and secretary to the ministery Md Anwar Hossain were present at the seminar.