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Research and innovation

Guiding Principles for Knowledge Valorisation implementing Codes of Practice

What are the guiding principles and codes of practice?

The EU Guiding Principles for Knowledge Valorisation aim to maximise the transformation of research and innovation results into solutions that benefit society. They are mainly address to national, regional and local policy makers. The Recommendation was adopted by the Council on 2 December 2022.

More detailed guidance for practitioners and stakeholders are given in the Code of Practice on intellectual assets management and a Code of Practice on standardisation. The Commission adopted these specific Recommendations on 1 March 2023 to help putting the Guiding Principles into daily practice.

The Commission, Directorate-General Research and Innovation, is running an awareness raising campaign to support the uptake of the Guiding Principles and of the two Codes of Practice. The campaign consists of national events in the framework of a tour of capital cities, stakeholder events and training days that are open to all interested research and innovation actors.

Recommendation on guiding principles for knowledge valorisation

The aim of the Recommendation on the guiding principles for knowledge valorisation is to adopt a common line on policy principles and measures for national, regional and local policy makers to maximize the transformation of research and innovation results into solutions that benefit society.

Knowledge valorisation is the process of creating social and economic value from knowledge by linking different areas and sectors and by transforming data, know-how and research results into sustainable products, services, solutions and knowledge-based policies that benefit society.

Boosting knowledge valorisation is essential to deliver more efficiently new solutions for building a greener, cleaner and healthier future.

The guiding principles engage all actors in the research and innovation ecosystem, focus on the connections and co-creation between actors, emphasise entrepreneurial skills and practices and cover the full range of knowledge generated by research and innovation activities.

News alerts: Commission welcomes adoption of the Council Recommendation on the guiding principles for knowledge valorisation

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Why we need guiding principles for knowledge valorisation

In 2008 the Commission adopted a recommendation on the management of intellectual property in knowledge transfer activities and the Code of Practice for universities and other public research organisations (C(2008)1329).

An update was needed, to focus on maximising the value of all knowledge assets generated by different types of actors in a dynamic research and innovation ecosystem.

New challenges and developments should be addressed, such as increasingly complex knowledge value-chains, new market opportunities created by emerging technologies, new forms of collaboration between industry, academia and public sector, involvement of citizens, as well as research and innovation foreign interference and reciprocity in the managing intellectual assets in international research and innovation cooperation.

The Council recommendation on the guiding principles for knowledge valorisation replace the 2008 Commission recommendation and the Code of practice for universities and other public research organisations.

Unique elements in the guiding principles

  • broadens the scope of actors and activities compared to the 2008 Commission Recommendation 2008/416/EC
  • implies a focus on the whole research and innovation ecosystem and its connections, on co-creation between actors and on the creation of societal value
  • widens the scope to include intellectual asset management and emphasise the importance of developing entrepreneurial culture, practices and skills
  • emphasises new needs for increasing the impact of research and innovation, such as addressing new and persistent policy challenges, enhancing citizen engagement and sharing of best practices among various actors

Guiding principles

  1. Knowledge valorisation in research and innovation policy
    Support structures, resources, policies, strategies and practices; broadest possible societal utilisation of research and innovation intellectual assets involving all actors; policy uptake and standards; promoting equality, diversity and inclusion
  2. Skills and capacities
    Competences, skills and capacities for all stakeholders; academia-industry-public sector mobility; participatory approaches to include talent, skills and tacit knowledge in valorisation; multidisciplinary collaborations, co-creation, social sciences, humanities and arts
  3. System of incentives
    All research and innovation ecosystem actors to learn, apply and practice knowledge valorisation; businesses, SMEs, civil society, citizens, end-users and public authorities to be active partners in co-creation and joint experimentation; incentivise actors to collect, share and use metrics that improve learning and performance of knowledge valorisation
  4. Intellectual asset management
    Policies and practices at organisational level; awareness in international environment and sovereignty; maximising socio-economic benefit for EU including contribution to sustainability; awareness and uptake of practices and tools in Open Science and Open Innovation; efficiency e.g. by supporting portfolio building and platforms linking offer and demand
  5. Relevancy in public funding schemes
    Application of valorisation principles in publicly funded research; specific funding to incentivise valorisation early on in research including support to intermediaries
  6. Peer learning
    Peer-learning, sharing of best-practices and developing common specifications; benchmarking to develop and promote common concepts, models and incentives
  7. Metrics, monitoring and evaluation
    Adopt common definitions, metrics and indicators encompassing variety of valorisation channels; monitoring and evaluation aligned with ERA monitoring framework.

The guiding principles cover all categories of research and innovation ecosystem actors, such as, universities, higher education institutions, research and technology organisations, citizens, civil society organisations, investors, funders, researchers, innovators, students, industry, SMEs, start-ups, intermediaries (e.g. knowledge and technology transfer professionals), policy makers, public authorities, service providers (e.g. hospitals and public transportation providers), research and technology infrastructures and standardisation bodies.

Code of practice on the management of intellectual assets for knowledge valorisation

The code of practice on the management of intellectual assets for knowledge valorisation aims to increase the use of research results and accelerate the uptake of innovative technologies. It provides comprehensive recommendations and addresses specific challenges faced by research and innovation stakeholders such as the efficient management of intellectual assets in joint research activities and the development of research and innovation activities in open science and open innovation contexts.

Factsheet1 March 2023
Code of practice on the management of intellectual assets for knowledge valorisation

The objective is to make this publication widely spread to raise awareness on the Code of practice and to foster its uptake by the broadest possible range of R&I actors.

Publication cover
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Why we need a Code of practice on the management of intellectual assets

The research and innovation ecosystem, its actors and challenges have changed considerably since the 2008 Commission Recommendation on the management of intellectual property in knowledge transfer activities and the Code of Practice for universities and other public research organisations (C(2008)1329).

For this reason, an update was needed in the form of the guiding principles for knowledge valorisation (see above) and a new Code of practice on the management of intellectual assets.

In line with the guiding principles, the Code of practice goes beyond formal intellectual property (IP) rights and offers guidance for the management of other types of intellectual assets.

Intellectual assets are not limited to IP rights, but include any result or products generated by research and innovation activities such as publications, data and know-how to maximise value creation opportunities.

The Code of practice was co-created with experienced stakeholders through a dedicated community of practice over a six-month period and was subject to a consultation of ERA Forum members during a workshop in September 2022.

Main elements of the Code of practice

Establishing a strategy for the efficient management of intellectual assets

  1. Defining and adopting strategic intellectual assets management practices
    The Code provides guidance for the definition and adoption of an intellectual assets management strategy at organisation level, for instance with respect to clear decision-making procedures, incentives, value sharing, supporting tools and instruments, awareness of resources and funding schemes.
  2. Managing intellectual assets in a way that enables open science and open innovation
    The Code offers recommendations regarding intellectual assets management when practising open science (in particular regarding publications, data, databases and software) and the handling of intellectual assets in open innovation collaborations.
  3. Investing in education, training and awareness raising
    The Code provides advice to foster awareness raising, education and training on various topics related to intellectual assets management (e.g. identification of intellectual assets, IP regimes, entrepreneurship, leveraging IP to attract investments, negotiation skills).

Managing intellectual assets in joint research and innovation activities

  1. Clarifying ownership of intellectual assets as early as possible
    The Code addresses ownership aspects of intellectual assets management, for instance in the context of collaboration agreements and in predominantly publicly funded projects.
  2. Establishing clear collaboration conditions
    The Code offers guidance to establish fruitful research and innovation collaborations, for instance with respect to licensing or transfer of results, spin off creation, background results and non-disclosure agreements.

Bridging the gap from intellectual assets creation to the market

  1. Finding suitable means for control
    The Code offers recommendations on adequate control of intellectual assets, for instance with respect to intellectual assets risk analysis, IP rights protection and different provisions in foreign markets.
  2. Carrying out valuation of intellectual property
    The Code provides recommendations concerning the different approaches to IP valuation, the definition of valuation targets and the purpose of the valuation operation.
  3. Establishing monitoring, transfer and licensing practices
    The Code includes recommendations on the identification of relevant stakeholders for the dissemination and exploitation of results, collaborative license mechanisms and sustainable socially responsible licensing practices.

Code of practice on standardisation in the European Research Area

The new Code of practice on standardisation aims to contribute to the successful integration of research and innovation with standardisation. It provides guidance to researchers and innovators by, for example, identifying elements of good practice. It concerns research and innovation activities without any technology boundaries. It targets research and innovation actors within a wide range of technology readiness levels from terminologies and concepts, through testing to interoperability and performance.

The Code of practice is a hands-on guidance that provides a set of recommendations grouped under 3 sections:

  1. For higher education institutions and research and innovation organisations to build relevant capacities
  2. For beneficiaries of EU, national and local research and innovation programmes to take inspiration from best practices
  3. For the policy level, including European, national and local authorities and standards development organisations, to take into account recommendations that will help everyone to use standardisation as an effective tool to harness results from research and innovation projects
Factsheet1 March 2023
Code of practice on standardisation in the European Research Area

The objective is to make this publication widely spread to raise awareness on the Code of practice and to foster its uptake by the broadest possible range of R&I actors. 

Publication cover
(324.19 KB - HTML)

News alert

Why we need a Code of practice on standardisation

Standards and standardisation have been increasingly recognised as an important channel for the successful transfer, commercialisation and valorisation of research results - they are a vital part of innovation.

Standards ensure compatibility and interoperability between different products, or minimum quality, performance and safety levels. They are also important in creating economies of scale and to increase efficiency in supply chains. There are many benefits of engaging in standards development for new and emerging technologies. 

Standards help bridge the innovation gap between research and global market impact by building customer trust in new innovative solutions. Early standards development enables faster mass-market adoption of new technologies, products and services. Standards have the power to strengthen the economic, social and environmental value and impact of research and innovation projects.

Main elements of the Code of practice

Recommendations for higher education institutions and private and public research and innovation organisations

  1. Developing a standardisation policy, self-standing or as part of an intellectual proper or research results valorisation policy
  2. Considering standardisation activities in career development plans
  3. Providing for education and training on standardisation
  4. Making Technology Transfer Offices fit for standardisation
  5. Developing an indicator and evaluation system

Recommendations for project partners

  1. Analyses of the landscape
  2. Common understanding and strategic position on standardisation
  3. Involving partners with expertise in making standardisation a tangible part of the project
  4. Making standards a tangible component of the project.
  5. Investing in stakeholder engagement
  6. Realistic outputs, outcomes and impacts and to consider suitable key performance indicators
  7. Striving for combined qualitative and quantitative performance reporting for evaluations and monitoring
  8. Taking standardisation considerations into account in innovation and  intellectual assets management (and vice versa)
  9. Ensuring sustainability beyond the project duration
  10. Addressing standardisation within sector platforms, public and private partnerships, project clusters, research and innovation centres or other joint fora

Recommendations for policy and stakeholders

  1. Promoting standardisation as a means of knowledge valorisation by EU member countries
  2. Examining the standardisation needs of startups and SMEs in research and innovation projects by EU member countries
  3. Standards Development Organisation to develop their service portfolios to align with research and innovation activities
  4. Use national support schemes in EU countries related to standardisation as a research and innovation valorisation tool

How was the Code of practice developed

The Code of practice is primarily based on the findings of the scoping study for the development of a code of practice on standardisation for researchers. The study identifies elements of good practice on how researchers engaged successfully with standards and/or the process of standardisation in the course of research projects that were funded by Horizon 2020, the research and innovation framework programme of the EU for 2013–2020. The Code of practice is result of a co-creation process with stakeholders.

How is knowledge valorisation different from knowledge transfer?

Knowledge transfer mainly focuses on technology and commercialisation (as in the 2008 Recommendation), whereas knowledge valorisation has a broader scope, includes all actors from the research and innovation ecosystem and covers all types of intellectual assets beyond technology and Intellectual Property Rights.

The guiding principles for knowledge valorisation reflect the diversity of knowledge valorisation channels and tools and address sustainability, social challenges and other sectoral policy priorities.

They also encourage multidisciplinary collaborations, not only within the traditional domain of knowledge transfer in technological areas, but also involving disciplines such as social sciences, the humanities and the arts, including looking at the interlinkages between social, environmental and economic policies.

Knowledge valorisation requires investment in skills and capacities

Knowledge valorisation requires dedicated resources and skills in order to maximize the value creation from the investments in European research and innovation. It requires continued and up-scaled efforts in developing knowledge transfer and brokerage professionals and facilitators who act as intermediaries between relevant research and innovation actors.

The guiding principles draw attention to the fact that we need to create value from publicly funded research and need to strengthen this aspect and consider complementary funding, e.g. proof of concept schemes, to ensure that resources are also devoted to knowledge valorisation.

How to better measure knowledge valorisation?

Metrics, monitoring and evaluation of knowledge valorisation rely on already existing indicators, as they already cover many valorisation activities. There is also a need to develop new metrics for areas not yet covered by existing indicators. To ensure administrative efficiency in Member States and stakeholders, the monitoring and evaluation of the knowledge valorisation operations will be aligned with the wider European Research Area (ERA) monitoring framework and synergies will be developed with other relevant ERA actions.