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Research and innovation

Commission exchanges with experts on how to improve knowledge valorisation by improving access and sharing of intellectual assets

The Covid-19 pandemic acted as a worldwide wake-up call about the pivotal role of making access and sharing of intellectual assets such as patents, know-how and data easier and quicker for addressing other pressing societal needs.  

With the aim to explore knowledge valorisation tools and policies to tackle challenges and opportunities such as the green and digital transitions an expert workshop was organised by DG Research and Innovation in Brussels. The workshop involved twelve representatives from business and academia as well as policymakers.

Peter Dröll (Director for Prosperity in DG Research and Innovation) and Merete Clausen (Director for Investment in DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) opened the event by setting the scene on EU initiatives for knowledge valorisation and on policy developments about intellectual property in the Internal Market. Current matters linked to international research and innovation collaborations were also mentioned, such as unwanted knowledge transfer, interference in R&I activities as well as research security and integrity.

The presentations and discussions were structured around three themes:

  • Addressing global challenges through intellectual assets management with new and evolving models;
  • Increasing societal benefits of results - different perspectives;
  • Facilitating intellectual assets access, use and sharing with patent pools, open access and artificial intelligence.

Inspiring best practices featured on the Knowledge Valorisation Platform were identified, presented and discussed and their replicability in different areas was explored. These best practices included:

  • VORTEX-CoLab, which aims to bridge the gap between academia and business to accelerate the launch of solutions that have a meaningful impact in industry and society.
  • Aarhus University Center of Open Innovation in Science, which aims at advancing, scaling and speeding up science and innovation by offering a collaborative platform for industry and researchers to work together without patents and to share their results openly with the world. 
  • ScoutinScience, which helps bringing research results to the market by scanning scientific papers from various sources and ranking them in a cohesive database based on their business potential.

Key conclusions and three main messages from the discussion:

  1. There is a need to rethink models to manage intellectual assets to respond to global challenges by ensuring balance between commercialisation interests and wider societal impact and by fostering trust between the parties and in the concept of openness. 
    Openness and sharing do not equal no reward for the time and investment spent in R&I activities. As shown by the practices presented, there are different models for the management of intellectual assets that align economic interests with the goal to foster societal benefits.
  2. More attention should be paid to the ways we measure and assess societal impact.
    There are outstanding impacts from research that are not necessarily economic. For instance, research in the fields of humanities and social sciences drives policy changes and makes us reconsider inequalities. Moreover, research has the potential to transform the planet by tackling global challenges such as climate change and by improving the well-being of low- and middle-income countries.
    Going beyond traditional metrics such as publications and patents might represent a challenge. However, the discussion stressed that identifying different approaches to measure effects on or benefits to society, culture, public policy, health and the environment– just to mention some – would help to strengthen the case for public investment in science.
  3. In the evolving geopolitical context, openness cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach and needs to be balanced with economic security considerations.
    Intellectual assets management in international R&I cooperation should take into account risks linked to technology security and technology leakage. The European Economic Security Strategy  adopted in June by the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy aims to strike a balance between the EU’s economic security, while preserving its economic openness and dynamism. Research and the valorisation of scientific knowledge are an important part of this strategy: the development of critical technologies, for example, is a major contributor to the EU’s economic base, competitiveness and growth.

This expert workshop allowed for meaningful exchanges and lessons learnt and will feed into current and future policy initiatives for knowledge valorisation and influence the discussion about the next EU Framework Programme for Research.

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More information

Knowledge valorisation around the world – what do we have in common?

Why the European Economic Security Strategy is important for researchers and stakeholders in knowledge valorisation

Guiding Principles for Knowledge Valorisation implementing Codes of Practice

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