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Research and innovation

EU valorisation policy: making research results work for society

What EU valorisation policy is, why we need it, what the EU is doing

Why do we need an EU valorisation policy?

The EU aims to maximise the social and economic value of research and innovation in Europe. Sharing knowledge and improving uptake of research and innovation results by society is a key part of the Commission’s proposal to revitalise the European Research Area.

Citizens expect science to be a driving force that will address societal challenges and deliver solutions for ongoing green and digital transitions. The objective is to increase access and use of research results, in particular when publicly funded. Making research results working for society is crucial to overcome the current needs and challenges faced by Europe.

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

EU knowledge valorisation policy covers both technological and non-technological solutions that can derive benefits to the society as a whole. It calls for the participation of all actors in the research and innovation ecosystem including users, citizens and policy-makers.

This cross-fertilisation of knowledge among different actors and sectors happens through academia-industry collaboration and mobility, the creation of spin-offs and start-ups, intermediaries and knowledge transfer professionals, citizens and local communities engagement, intellectual assets management, standardisation, knowledge dissemination and policy uptake.

What does the policy aim to do?

A lot of knowledge is injected in and generated by research and innovation activities in the EU, in particular in the framework of publicly funded research.

The goal of the EU valorisation policy is to increase the societal value and impact of research and innovation investments.

The policy addresses all research and innovation actors and calls for a paradigm shift and co-creation among the actors in order to maximise the societal value of research and innovation results to benefit society. We have a created a platform for research and innovation actors across Europe to share best practices, listen to lessons learned and work together with like-minded people in making the most of research results.

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Go to the knowledge valorisation platform

Guiding principles for knowledge valorisation

On 9 August 2022 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation on the guiding principles for knowledge valorisation (COM(2022)391 final). The aim of the Recommendation 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. The Council of the EU adopted a Recommendation on the guiding principles for knowledge valorisation on 2 December 2022.

A Code of Practice on intellectual assets management and a Code of Practice on standardisation have been adopted as Commission Recommendations on 1 March 2023 to support the implementation of the guiding principles by providing more detailed guidance on these areas of knowledge valorisation.

Two new codes of practice on industry-cademia co-creation and citizen engagement for knowledge valorisation were adopted on 1 March 2024.

More on the Guiding Principles for Knowledge Valorisation and implementing Codes of Practice

Industry-academia joint research and mobility

Industry-academia collaboration is one of the key channels to foster a mutual exchange between knowledge generators and business actors, boost private investments in research, lead to more inventions and patents, facilitate the flow of knowledge and talents into companies, enhance researchers’ skills and understanding of the market needs and increase entrepreneurial culture among researchers.

This improves not only the competitiveness of European industry and the research and innovation system, but supports the development of green, innovative and digital solutions for society.

Although many policy instruments are in place to promote collaborations between academia and industry in Europe – such as grants for mobility, collaborative research and public-private partnerships – stronger interaction is needed.

A Code of practice on industry-academia co-creation for knowledge valorisation was adopted as a Commission Recommendation on 1 March 2024. It provides detailed guidance and tools for R&I actors to create an enabling environment and thriving conditions for co-creation for improved knowledge valorisation. The Code of practice will help develop interactive models and foster the role of intermediaries and digital platforms that facilitate co-creation and better match innovation’s supply and demand.

The Recommendation builds on the input from the community of practice on industry-academia collaboration for knowledge valorisation that brought together more than 210 participants from 25 EU and 11 other countries.

What the EU is doing

Research-driven spin-offs and startups

Spin-offs and academic start-ups are of key importance, as they offer students or researchers a promising route to commercialising the knowledge and inventions they have developed. Structured access to finance is crucial for these early stage companies as well as entrepreneurial mindsets and skills.

What the EU is doing

Intermediaries and knowledge transfer

Intermediary organisations – such as knowledge transfer offices, technology transfer offices, business incubators and science parks –  help researchers and innovators commercialise their solutions, products and services.

They are the first contact point for researchers and industry looking for new opportunities. They also promote additional instruments and services to boost the innovation potential of research through networking, mentoring activities, coaching and exchange of best practices.

What the EU is doing

  • Horizon Results Booster is a service providing tailor-made support to closed or ongoing projects funded by the European Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation with the aim to maximise their impact and increase value creation.
  • Horizon Results Platform is a tool for beneficiaries of European projects to disseminate their results and to connect with potential partners to advance the use and commercialisation.
  • Competence Centre on Technology Transfer offers expertise and services in technology transfer at the European Commission in the areas of capacity building, financing and innovation ecosystems.

Citizen engagement

Citizens, communities and civil society play a key role in the new European Research Area in achieving greater societal impact, by using research results and co-creating innovative solutions to challenges that matter to people.

The European knowledge valorisation policy calls for a more diverse societal engagement and involvement of actors in order to ensure innovation benefiting all of society. The guiding principles for knowledge valorisation specifically call to: Provide measures for businesses, particularly SMEs, civil society, citizens, end-users and public authorities to be active partners in co-creating value-adding innovation...” and involve “disciplines such as social sciences, the humanities and the arts ….

To showcase the role of these  actors, such as the arts and cultural institutions engage with citizens and other stakeholders to valorise knowledge, a study was published by the European Commission.

More than 125 participants from 21 EU countries and 6 other countries joined a community of practice on citizen engagement for knowledge valorisation to contribute to the co-creation of a Code of practice in this area. A Code of practice will provide guidance in the form of principles, recommendations, approaches and tools to facilitate citizen engagement for improved knowledge valorisation. 

To test and further develop novel approaches in engaging citizens to co-create solutions with researchers and other stakeholders, the European Commission is testing a hackathon model, as a tool for knowledge valorisation driven by citizens’ needs.

What the EU is doing

Intellectual assets management

Intellectual assets cover any result or products generated by research and innovation activities such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, publications, data, know-how, prototypes, processes, practices, technologies, inventions, software etc. that can be legally protected through intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, trademarks etc.) or not.

Efficient intellectual assets management fosters innovation, creativity and knowledge sharing, and improves the chances of knowledge reaching the market and benefiting society.

The valorisation of intellectual assets (including intellectual property - IP) generated by EU-funded research enables fair and rapid access to solutions to meet societal needs and overcome the challenges linked to the green and digital transitions.

The report on The management and commercialisation of intellectual property in European universities explores IP management practices among universities in the European Union. Based on the empirical evidence gathered, the report presents models and processes of IP management and research commercialisation in universities and their interdependencies.

A Code of practice on the management of intellectual assets for knowledge valorisation was adopted as Commission Recommendation on 1 March 2023. It 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.

What the EU is doing

Research supporting standardisation

There are many benefits for research and innovation ecosystem actors if they engage in standards development in innovative technology areas. Standards help bridge the innovation gap between research and global markets by enabling efficient and effective knowledge and technology transfer - resulting in maximum socio-economic and environmental benefits and valuable impacts from research and innovation activities.

Standardisation is also a powerful networking platform for interacting with fellow researchers and innovators from around the world.

Standards form a common language that allows researchers, people and industry to communicate, produce and commercialise products and services. This is especially important in the European single market.

Standards create an opportunity tool to get the most out of research results.

This is because they

  • help researchers to bring their innovation to the market by making their results transparent and ensuring high quality
  • build consumer trust in innovative technology because they guarantee safety and quality
  • codify the technologies requirements and inform both manufacturers and consumers on what to expect
  • allow technologies and materials to be interoperable: because a standard provides details on the use and content of a technology or a material, it is much easier to know when and how it can be used in combination with other technologies

A Code of Practice on standardisation was adopted as Commission Recommendation on 1 March 2023 to foster standardisation activities in research and innovation projects and proposes a set of recommendations on how to best identify opportunities and techniques to increase the uptake of research and innovation results through standardisation. The code of practice is based on a scoping study, integrating the underlying evidence  on how beneficiaries of public research and innovation funds can best valorise projects results through standardisation.

Factsheet: Code of Practice on standardisation
Video: Code of practice on standardisation in the European Research Area

What the EU is doing

  • The Standardisation Strategy includes research and innovation as a key element reflecting on the untapped potential in EU funded pre-normative research in supporting future trends in standardisation. The role of Horizon Europe is underlined from the point of view of standardisation, as it entails a strong anticipation of standardisation needs and strong linkages between strategic priorities and pre-normative research
  • The Commission runs a Standardisation Booster to support researchers under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe to test the relevance of their results for standardisation. The booster is open for on-going and closed Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe projects.
  • Factsheet: From research to standards

Knowledge for informing policy

Valorising knowledge for policy uptake concerns the use of research results, knowledge (in the broad sense, including interdisciplinary research, the social sciences and humanities, non-technological innovation, design, culture and the arts) and innovative new methods and processes that can inform and help develop and implement better policies.

The European Commission published the staff working document Supporting and connecting policymaking in the Member States with scientific research, as a compass for developing evidence-informed policymaking.  It highlights the opportunities and challenges in Europe and the Member States, and the need to ensure that “decision-makers have access to the best available science when they need it, in a format they can use, and which is trusted by citizens”, and calls for further efforts to make connections and reinforce trust between scientists, policymakers, stakeholders, and the general public.

Factsheet: Sharing knowledge and informing policy

What the EU is doing