ProRETT technology transfer project 10x more successful than industry average

On 29 January 2008, EUREC Agency and Greeenovate presented the results of the technology transfer promotion project ProRETT at the Committee of the Regions during the European Sustainable Energy Week.

Over 150 participants had registered for the workshop on “Policy recommendations and good practice for effective support to the innovation process from research to market: Lessons learnt from 63 real-life cases.”

During the past 24 months, the ProRETT project had developed and tested an innovative and structured methodology for quicker and broader commercial exploitation of existing scientific research results in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency resulting in licensing deals and spin-off creation in Europe.

At the project outset, the main objectives were to address the technical barriers for transforming scientific research results into viable innovations, to unite all stakeholders relevant for technology transfer, to promote the market uptake of renewable electricity and renewable heating and cooling technologies by European companies or start-ups, and to distil good practices and policy recommendations.

Results, impact, and reasons for the success

All publicly (co-)funded research results in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency coming out of European research centres were eligible for support through ProRETT.

  • 63 technologies proposed for commercialisation by technology developers were evaluated.

  • 31 technologies were considered a priori as business opportunities and were further assessed.

  • 26 technologies seemed to have substantive business potential and received individual support.

  • 22 technologies proved to be ‘truly commercially promising’. ProRETT helped the teams behind the technologies develop business plans and concepts and prepared them for contacts with investors

  • 10 spin-offs were created with the help of private investors; 2 licensing deals are still pending.

With support from ProRETT, the percentage of successfully commercialised technologies was ten times higher than the industry average: 16% of the technology proposals could be developed into start-ups, while venture capital funds typically invest in only 1-2 proposals out of every 100 proposals they receive.

ProRETT raised about five times its own Commission funding contribution in the form of private investments in R&D results, thus demonstrating a strong leverage effect.

The 16% commercialisation rate, the 10 start-ups created, as well as the 5-fold return on the Commission’s financial contribution in form of private follow-up investments make ProRETT a very successful project.

The lessons learnt, the recommendations for optimised technology and knowledge transfer, as well as some case studies will be available in form of a publication at the end of February.

ProRETT-type innovation support services are based on a structured and innovative methodology that can be applied to other sectors beyond renewable energy and energy efficiency, and especially to those sectors with a highly decentralised R&D base, a relatively high importance of public research funding, and a high SME penetration. This definition typically applies to all environmental technologies.

Continuation of ProRETT services

In order to continue what has been successfully tested under ProRETT, some of the innovation professionals from the ProRETT team have created a joint organisation: Greenovate! Europe has its own legal entity and will continue the ProRETT-type innovation support services at EU level, with a sole focus on environmental technologies.

Technology developers, investors and policy makers are invited to contact Greenovate! Europe to discuss their ideas with our innovation experts.

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