HORIZON2020: Bringing Public R&D To Market

Brussels, 20 March 2012 Commercialisation activities should be run in parrallel to R&D activities in publicly funded R&D projects, and should be carried out by innovation professionals. This was the key message at a dinner debate on how to get more innovation out of EU-funded research under the next EC programme for research and innovation – HORIZON 2020. The dinner debate which took place in the European Parliament was organised by Greenovate! Europe and the ProNano consortium for an audience of EU policy-makers and R&D experts, with the aim of informing the ongoing debate on HORIZON 2020. Portuguese MEP Maria da Graça Carvalho, who is rapporteur for HORIZON 2020’s specific programmes, hosted the event.

Ms. Carvalho, who sits for for the EPP in the Committee on Technology, Research and Energy (ITRE), said that whilst the Commission’s HORIZON 2020 proposals were promosing, “more work needs to be done on encouraging participation of SMEs and allowing them to take industrial leadership roles.” Noting that she was looking forward to the debate, she added, “I will absorb as much as possible to contribute to the shaping of HORIZON 2020.”

At present there are many barriers preventing R&D results making it to market. Most R&D consortia lack critical market knowledge and business vision, and pay attention to exploitation and commercialisation issues too late in their projects. HORIZON 2020 must therefore ensure in its design that exploitation and commercialisation activities become an integral part of R&D projects and are of sufficient quality to guide follow-up investment decisions. These lessons were drawn by the presenters from their experiences in ProNano, an FP6 support action that encouraged the market uptake of nanotech R&D results funded by the EC Framework Programmes 6 and 7.

“Exploitation activities should be carried out by professionals in exploitation, like research is carried out by R&D players. If we want excellence in innovation, then we must involve excellent innovation professionals”, said Francisco de Aristegui, Coordinator of the ProNano project. “The lack of business vision means that projects are planned without taking future markets into account. Public funding bodies should be both more demanding and more supportive, when it comes to market aspects.

Ms. Carvalho’s opening speech is available here.

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