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Commitment 21
Facilitating Effective Collaborative Research and Knowledge Transfer
Innovation Union commitment text

"The Commission will facilitate effective collaborative research and knowledge transfer within the research Framework Programmes and beyond. It will work with stakeholder to develop a set of model consortium agreements with options ranging from traditional approaches to protect IP through to more open ones. Mechanisms are also needed to further strengthen knowledge transfer offices in public research organisations, in particular through transnational collaboration."

Facts and Figures about Knowledge-Sharing: University-Industry Knowledge Transfer - A Comparison between the US and EU
Note: The table is a compilation of the ProTon and ASTP surveys.
Figures given relating to invention disclosures, patent applications, etc. are all per million PPP$ of R&D expenditures.
  • What is the problem?
  • What is our objective?
  • Implementation
  • Milestones
  • Background documents
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Facilitating knowledge transfer in the FP

Effective collaboration and knowledge transfer in research projects remains an issue in some research projects, in particular between universities/public research organisations and industry.The Commission Recommendation on the management of intellectual property in knowledge transfer and Code of Practice for universities and other public research organisations (C(2008)1329) provides guidance but further steps are needed. Exploitation of research results often requires effective knowledge transfer which -sometimes- is lacking in practice. It is critical that EU research funding provides a leading example to Member States in best practice for the management of intellectual property in research.


Developing a set of model consortium agreements

Some EU and national level model agreements for research cooperation exist. However, as the common strategic framework will probably have a stronger focus on innovation, a broader set of agreements covering different stages of the innovation chain is needed. A common set of model agreements developed by EU stakeholders, covering the broad range of circumstances under which research collaboration occurs while leaving contractual freedom to partners to agree on the most efficient allocation of IPR ownership and access, would help to engender a common approach across the EU and build certainty and confidence in partners entering into cross-border collaboration. Such agreements could also help to ensure that smaller negotiating partners are not unfairly treated. The EU has a critical role to play in providing a platform via which stakeholders can come together to create such agreements, ensuring that the voices of all stakeholders (including SMEs) are given equal consideration, and providing support throughout the process of their development.

Strengthening knowledge transfer offices

Although a large number of knowledge transfer offices have been established over the last decade, the quality and size of knowledge transfer offices, and the resources available to them, vary greatly across the EU. There is considerable expertise and support available, but the communication within and between national networks is not presently sufficiently well developed to ensure that said expertise and support is made available to those who need it. Efforts are being made to create better networks, and action at EU level will ensure that those efforts deliver effective results.


Facilitating effective knowledge transfer in the FP

As a starting point the Commission will propose simple and clear rules for participation in the Common Strategic Framework (CSF), including a particular focus on exploitation and the transfer of the projects funded. These rules could also be supported by concise and practical guidance on effective collaborative reseatch and by additional measures to enhance knowledge transfer in EU funded research. Broader monitoring will also be required. The Commission will work closely with relevant Member State representatives to ensure that said proposed rules will be supported.

Developing a set of model consortium agreements

The Commission will work with Member States and relevant stakeholders from the research community and knowledge transfer community to assess the application and impact of present model consortium agreements used and build on those to develop further model agreements which can be used at an EU level (including in the CSF).

Strengthening KT offices

The Commission will work with stakeholder groups to facilitate the creation, development and cross-networking of national knowledge transfer office networks. In line with Commission Recommendation, the Commission will also ask Member States to support the development of knowledge transfer capacity and skills in public research organisations. The Commission has recently launched the "TTO Circle", an initiative that aims at enhancing collaboration among the TTOs (Technology Transfer Offices) of large European public research organisations. The TTO Circle so far comprises the following organizations: Joint Research Centre (Coordinator), AIT (Austria), CEA (France), CERN (International), CNR (Italy), EMBL (Int.), ENEA (Italy), ESA (Int.), FhG (Germany), Helmholtz Association (Germany), ILL (Int.), IMEC (Belgium), INRIA (France), KIT (Germany), Max Planck Innovation (Germany), NCBiR (Poland), Sintef (Norway), Tecnalia (Spain), TNO (Netherlands), Tübitak (Turkey) and VTT (Finland). One of the task of the TTO Circle is to foster the sharing of expertise, the exchange of best practices and the development of synergies at the European level in the field of IP and knowledge transfer.

13/05/2011 propose Rules of participation in CSF
Type: Legislative
13/05/2011 TTO circle: Establishment of two working groups to assess joint-licensing opportunities and to analyse the different approaches used in IP valuation
Type: Other
Lead Directorate-General/Unit, Head of Unit

RTD/C1, P..Droell



Other Directorates-General/Units associated


Key external partners

Member State policy makers, research and innovation stakeholders, knowledge transfer professionals.

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