DAY 2 (27 October 2021) - Stakeholders’ Workshop
Breakout session 4: ERA for Economy
Following the 2020 Council conclusions on the New European Research Area1 (ERA) and the Commission communication on a new ERA for research and innovation2, the Commission has produced the Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe (Pact for R&I)3. The Commission is now considering the ERA Policy Agenda, which will be informed by the anticipated November 2021 Council Recommendations on the Pact for R&I. Derived from these strategic documents will be tangible, concrete priority ERA Actions identified by the Council, the Commission, Member States and Associated Countries. Actions will detail time-bound, objective driven deliverables for the delivery and coordination of the New ERA’s Policy Agenda.
Several proposed Actions include a focus on strengthening excellence and maximizing the value of knowledge creation, validation and uptake of research knowledge into practical applications. Particular focus is required in the consideration of how to boost fast and smooth market uptake of research and innovation (R&I) results to enable Europe’s competitive leadership in technology.
This breakout session will explore the design of ERA Actions that have an economic focus, providing recommendations to the Commission of how best to design, implement and foster adoption of actions related to competitiveness, by the stakeholders who will be key to their delivery. Your input as stakeholders at the crux of knowledge valorization is essential in the co-creation process, to ensure the Actions work for all actors, be it industry, academia, funders or citizens, delivering high impact knowledge valorization to drive societal change and addressing global challenges.
This paper is intended to act as stimulus for an engaging debate on research’s role within the economy - how best to strengthen knowledge valorization to bolster European competitiveness and leadership. The workshop will consider two aspects that may result in ERA Actions: 1. The role, design and implementation of common industrial technology roadmaps; 2. The role and methodology of the standardization of knowledge valorization through guidelines and codes. This paper provides a brief overview of the current thinking in these areas, accompanied by key questions and “thought provoking” sub-questions.
During the workshop, we will request your opinions on the proposed way forward in the two chosen thematic areas. Expert moderators in the field will facilitate the discussion. Recommendations will be captured against the two high level questions by a rapporteur and reported back to the wider conference through a plenary. A Recommendations report will be produced after the Conference for the Commission’s consideration in their design of the relevant ERA Policy Actions.
ERA Common industrial technology roadmaps
The European Commission is developing, together with Member States, Industry, Research organisations and other stakeholders, a new roadmap tool for boosting transfer of research results into the economy4.
Industrial technology roadmaps will support the implementation of the new European Industrial Strategy5 and will be thematically focused on enabling technologies, such as for the green and digital transitions, intended to make the European economy resilient and globally competitive.
The first pilot roadmap (in the making) will focus on low carbon technologies for energy-intensive industries.6 The second roadmap will focus on circular industrial technologies and will follow in the footprints of the first one.
The subject of other technology roadmaps will be decided in consultation with Member States and relevant stakeholders, with the aim to address the hot topics that hold the most prospect for delivering the twin transition and other strategic areas.
The timeframe for development and adoption of the Industrial Technology Roadmaps is by the end of 2022.
The Roadmaps are intended to create a European common vision and investment agenda from basic research to deployment.
Mapping out the evidence-base of the current technological state of play and what technologies hold the biggest potential for market breakthrough (through Horizon Scanning), will help engage industrial investment and inform national policy-makers to direct public funding into the areas outlined in the roadmaps. Coordination will ensure high impact investment, accelerating research and technology development through the technology readiness levels7.
The European Commission is committed to developing a strong evidence base for these common tools, to ensure they are appropriately designed for wide use across industry, academia and public funders. It is essential to develop this evidence base through joining forces with industry, outreach to the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and drawing on information from research experience, such as the research and innovation results from Horizon partnerships and projects, and the breakthrough innovation supported by the European Innovation Council.
To inform the first roadmap, low carbon technologies for energy-intensive industries, the Commission published a supporting report8 with evidence gathered from a variety of sources. The Commission is now in the process of disseminating the report and gathering feedback and investment plans from Member States, as well as feedback from all relevant stakeholders. The result of the consultation process will be shared in the form of recommendations mapped out in the final roadmap.
The roadmaps will therefore detail different aspects of the various technologies’ development: a pertinent evidence-base to support the case for development; the current state of play; its relevance to EU policy objectives; the identification of a R&I investment agenda from basic research to deployment; recommendations for R&I actions for faster transfer of research results into practical applications benefitting the economy; relevant synergies between different policy instruments; participation in strengthening innovation ecosystems at national and regional level; and risks associated to investments in the field by industry.
Knowledge valorization means transformation of knowledge and ideas into innovative solutions for the benefit of citizens. It plays an important role in Europe’s systemic transformation to a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive society, e.g. reducing CO2 emissions through renewable energy solutions such as solar thermal energy, maintaining a clean local environment through new water treatment facilities, and improving the quality of life through the creation of new medicines and new therapies.
Valorisation policy promotes the transformation of knowledge through different channels, such as through the creation of innovative spinoffs and start-ups, through effective intellectual property management and citizen engagement, and through industry-academia collaboration. The latter is especially necessary for fostering exchange between academia (knowledge generators) and business actors (knowledge translators).
Effective collaborations can boost private investment in research, which can lead to more inventions and patents, facilitate the flow of knowledge and academic talent into companies and increase entrepreneurial culture among researchers. This would likely not only improve the competitiveness of European industry, but also the research-innovation system excellence, supporting the development of green, innovative and digital solutions to benefit all of society.
Cooperation between research and industry is one of the main channels for knowledge valorisation9 and fosters many opportunities, such as joint research projects, facilitation of the flow of knowledge into companies, co-creation of innovation, improvements in teaching, learning and enrichment of students’ knowledge, industrial skills and competences, and understanding of researchers’ skills required within the wider market.
There are existing tools to support industry-research collaboration, such as intersectoral mobility programmes, public-private partnerships, shared training programmes, joint research & technology infrastructures10 (such as MSCA, European Institute of Innovation and Technology, Erasmus+), but new tools for increasing co-operation, taking into account new situations, are necessary within a changing Europe.
The European Commission is working on developing European Knowledge valorisation policy and intends, together with MSs, to revise and broaden the scope and content of European Guiding Principles for knowledge valorisation11, related Codes of Practice for smart use of IP12 and a Code of practice for researchers on standardization13. This suite of guidance aims to provide an effective and efficient policy framework, based on needs of knowledge valorisation actors, and further develop a common language of different stakeholders to stimulate knowledge circulation and valorisation across Europe.
New challenges, such as the international context, complex knowledge value chains and new market opportunities, created by emerging technologies, and new forms of industry- academia collaborations and open science and open Innovation should be taken into account.
The Guiding Principles for knowledge valorisation also aim to address knowledge valorisation gaps across MSs and ensure that value creation of publicly funded R&I results is maximised across the European Union, progressing the free circulation of knowledge, researchers and technology.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
The new ERA is designed through the co-creation process, where community building and needs of stakeholders are of essential importance. We look forward to your critical, thoughtful and constructive feedback on the required efficient and effective governance conditions to implement two important areas within the new ERA: European technology roadmaps and knowledge valorisation.
- On national and EU level – where do you see the key mismatches that need to be addressed during forming the European technology roadmaps in order to achieve consistency of efforts for maximum impact?
- - what information and evidence (based on the analysis of research results and experiences to date) would help industry partners
- and development efforts in to a certain technology? Is it policy and market signals, research/technology confidence or opportunities and support for research collaboration? How could roadmaps support these measures?
- What are the
- in order to develop concrete market ready solutions for new breakthrough technologies?
- What are the main bottlenecks in the development of business cases, and the resulting market uptake? What evidence is needed to overcome obstacles?
What unlocks investment and collaboration?
Innovators and entrepreneurs context (start ups/spin offs/scale ups)
- – what information can technology roadmaps provide to boost early stage technology development and inform their business cases?
Research organisations context
- - what are the key factors to make technology roadmaps useful guides to strategically steer research in institutions?
What makes a roadmap an effective strategic guide?
What is missing from existing industry sector roadmaps
- that could be included in future technology roadmaps to increase their added value for research institutes?
- – what references and up-to-date information is needed to use the Technology roadmaps for evidence-based policy making?
- How should we shape industry-academia collaboration for successful knowledge valorisation (e.g.: in synergies with technology roadmaps)? How can we stimulate widespread application of EU level guidelines for knowledge circulation and valorisation, taking into account new challenges such as open science, open innovation, the international context, complex knowledge value chains and new market opportunities created by emerging technologies?
- How can we accelerate valorisation of research results to deliver maximum impact? What should be included in the EU guidelines?
- How should we shape new forms of industry-academia collaborations and reinforce academia-business co-operation at national, regional and EU level? What is working and what not and why?
- Where are there knowledge valorisation competence and standardisation gaps across different member states, which could be aligned to European practices? How can these be addressed?
- Are existing European level tools and initiatives for enhancing research industry co-operation (e.g. Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions, Erasmus+, EIT) working? Are there any Member State level tools that should be highlighted as exceptionally effective? What additional actions, programmes or activities could be implemented?
9 Research & innovation valorisation channels and tools - Publications Office of the EU (europa.eu)