Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

NOGAP Report Summary

Project ID: 609531
Funded under: FP7-INCO
Country: Germany

Final Report Summary - NOGAP (Knowledge Transfer Community to bridge the gap between research, innovation and business creation)

Executive Summary:
In order to stay competitive and to keep a leading role at world level, the European Union (EU) has developed a strong and coherent international science and technology policy. The integration of the neighbouring countries of the EU into the European Research Area and their possible association to Horizon 2020 is a prominent objective in this respect. NoGAP addresses this global vision by targeting selected Eastern Partnership Countries (EPC).
The overall objective of the project is
therefore to reinforce cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries to develop a “Common Knowledge and Innovation Space” on societal challenge ”secure, clean and efficient energy”.
The NoGAP consortium is composed of 13 organizations from six countries of which three are EU members (Germany, Romania, Slovakia) and three are members of the Eastern Partnership (Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia). In order to improve mobility between research, business and innovation, interrelated tandem relations between research organizations and innovation support services are established.
Within the NoGAP project we aspired to:
• identify the main drivers and obstacles of closer links between academia and the market in the field of secure, clean and efficient energy in the Eastern Partnership Region,
• develop a best practice methodology to enhance successful commercialization of research results and to improve the management of these results,
• develop innovation support services to foster existing and establish new strategic partnerships,
• assess the opportunities for the establishment of sustainable Technology Transfer Centres (TTC) in the participating partner countries on the basis of existing structures and good practice,
• improve the competencies of researchers, entrepreneurs and multiplicators by organizing trainings,
• develop a list of pilot activities to foster mutually beneficial public-private-partnerships between EU and Eastern Partnership countries in the energy sector,
• create and organize twinning sessions between the regions,
• promote networking between EU and Eastern Partnership countries.
Indeed, NoGAP was an efficient instrument to bridge the gap between research and innovation. The current EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 in combination with the EPC sets the frame for closer collaboration with the neighbours in research and innovation, especially in the field of societal challenges. It opens the door for their stronger participation and will be the main instrument for implementing the EU international research and innovation cooperation actions. The focus in the countries covered by the EPC will be on fostering integration into the European Research Area, including through their possible association to Horizon 2020. For these countries, our project contributed significantly to developing a “Common Knowledge and Innovation Space”, including improving the research and innovation competences of the EPC. NoGAP developed between the consortium members and the other stakeholders, involved in or informed about the project, a systematic and much stronger interaction between research and innovation. This comprises better alignment with the international cooperation priorities of actors such as industry, universities and research organizations, but also with the priorities of the Joint Programming initiatives, European Platforms and European Innovation Partnerships.

Project Context and Objectives:
In order to stay competitive and to keep a leading role at world level, the European Union (EU) has developed a strong and coherent international science and technology policy. The integration of the neighbouring countries of the EU into the European Research Area and their possible association to Horizon 2020 is a prominent objective in this respect. NoGAP addresses this global vision by targeting selected Eastern Partnership Countries (EPC). It aims at creating a common “Knowledge Transfer Community to bridge the gap between research, innovation and business creation”. As such, the project strives to foster a systematic and strong interaction between research and innovation partners from EU and EPC. Its aim is to build sustainable innovation partnerships between actors from all steps of the value chain in both regions in order to develop effective instruments for successful technology transfer and innovation (I&TT). The NoGAP consortium is composed of 13 organizations from 6 countries of which 3 are EU members (Germany, Romania, Slovakia) and 3 are members of the Eastern Partnership (Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia).

Within the NoGAP project we wanted to:
• identify the main drivers and obstacles of closer links between academia and the market in the field of secure, clean and efficient energy in the Eastern Partnership Region,
• develop a best practice methodology to enhance successful commercialization of research results and to improve the management of these results,
• develop innovation support services to foster existing and establish new strategic partnerships,
• assess the opportunities for the establishment of sustainable Technology Transfer Centres (TTC) in the participating partner countries on the basis of existing structures and good practice,
• improve the competencies of researchers, entrepreneurs and multiplicators by organizing trainings,
• develop a list of pilot activities to foster mutually beneficial public-private-partnerships between EU and Eastern Partnership countries in the energy sector,
• create and organize twinning sessions between the regions,
• promote networking between EU and Eastern Partnership countries.

Project Results:
The overall objective of the project is to reinforce cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries to develop a “Common knowledge and innovation space” on societal challenge ”secure, clean and efficient energy”. The main S&T results will help the European Commission and other stakeholders to boost innovation & technology transfer within the Eastern Partnership Countries (EPC) as well as between these countries and the EU.

1. Identification of BOTTLENECKS & OPPORTUNITIES as regards innovation & technology transfer in the EPC between public research and industry in the societal challenge of secure, clean and efficient energy. These insights could be gained through a sophisticated survey in the six target countries.
a) Unexperienced, uninformed stakeholders: almost half of the stakeholders in the societal challenge of secure, clean and efficient energy in the six EPC are not experienced in technology transfer;
b) Unfavorable environment (lack of legislation, strategy, funding, education): The current ineffectiveness of cooperation and technology transfer in EPC seems to be due to two crucial problems. The lack of financing for projects and lack of legislation for innovation & technology transfer are the most virulent barriers to technology transfer. Respondents most often marked these two lacks to appear regularly. Only in Moldova, a lack of innovative thinking at business level is perceived as a greater barrier to technology transfer. In many cases knowledge seems to be existent but the framework conditions prevent to make the most of it are missing.
c) Poor interaction at all levels (national, regional, international): cooperation between public and private is perceived as poor by a great majority of respondents; only few interviewees participate in dual education programs; despite the fact that almost all organisations have staff speaking foreign languages, only 40% act at an international level; direct interaction seems to be missing between research and business as Internet is the dominant source of information for people interested in technology transfer; this backlog becomes particularly visible when it comes to clusters in EPC. Despite the fact that the concept of clusters/clustering is known in the region, it is not applied in practice. People/organisations do not participate in energy-related clusters, they cannot name any kind of energy-related cluster in their countries and only very seldom, they are member of such a cluster.
In line with this analysis of barriers, interviewees identify a political strategy in cooperation and technology transfer as the most important contribution to overcome the backlog in this area. Stakeholders do miss a long term strategy for cooperation between industry and public research as well as a clear government policy strategy. A policy with smart priorities can foster technology transfer in the EPC area with the help of transparent rules, practices and standards. Subsequently, the priorities set must be clearly communicated to stakeholders to ensure their visibility and usefulness. With respect to the coherence of this policy, a harmonization within the region and with international standards seems to be indispensable.

2. BEST PRACTICES METHODOLOGY
Based upon the insights above and existent general knowledge, our project developed a best practice handbook in this context. This document looks at the relevance gap in the management of the knowledge transfer (KT) to the market. Its focus is the nature of the knowledge created by research at the interface between business and academia in the context of major changes likely to affect the nature of demand for such knowledge. Our identified best practices:

- Knowledge transfer as a strategic mission of Public Research Organisations (PRO): Ensure that all PROs define knowledge transfer as a strategic mission. Plus: Green and White Papers on KT and IP Management: On the conceptual level, involving universities’ and other PROs’ strategies, statutes and procedures, the KTS found that the EC’s Recommendation on intellectual property management in KT contributed to proliferating acknowledgement of the importance of KT in Europe. A Green Paper could start a wide consultation process among different stakeholders in governments, universities and other PROs, business associations and companies and mobilise considerable resources and discussions. It would be an appropriate measure to ensure that the way of knowledge transfer does not simply become a copy of the US Bayh-Dole model, inheriting its weaknesses, but at least in some environments lacking its strengths.

- Policies for managing intellectual property - Supporting PROs’ intellectual property policy and procedure development: Encourage public research organisations to establish and publicise policies and procedures for the management of intellectual property. Besides, explore and support the development of non-monetary knowledge transfer incentives. Plus, better address SME requirements as requirements and constraints for IP ownership and access as well as KT preferences and practices vary by industry, business model, and company size, among other characteristics. Incentives for and barriers to working with PROs differ systematically between various types of companies accordingly. Based on more in-depth insights about PRO-SME relationships, policy makers at EU and national level could develop specific offers and support schemes and put additional effort into reaching out to SMEs.

- Improving knowledge transfer capacities and skills: Support the development of knowledge transfer capacity and skills in public research organisations, as well as measures to raise the awareness and skills of students - in particular in the area of science and technology - regarding intellectual property, knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship. Besides, European model contracts for KT Model contracts – a term also frequently used is “sample agreements” – may support KT and intellectual property management in PROs. Plus, good standards for KT and the developing KT profession may need to be established because currently there is no common understanding in Europe of what KTOs and KTO are. Additionally, the size of a knowledge transfer office (KTO) is an influential variable for the development level of IP and KT practices in PROs and their performance. Furthermore, internships and expert visit programmes may support KT. In order to increase understanding about the cultural differences between PROs and enterprises, mobility of staff between the two spheres should also be further enhanced. Lastly, henever the capacities and skills of KTOs to valorise research findings are not sufficient, intermediary organisations could offer support.

- Promoting broad dissemination of knowledge while protecting intellectual property: Promote the broad dissemination of knowledge created with public funds, by taking steps to encourage open access to research results, while enabling, where appropriate, the related intellectual property to be protected. Moreover, it is necessary to plan, implement intellectual property policy, licensing/start-up policy, to consider the awareness of the importance of monitoring institutional performance and progress.

- Facilitating transnational cooperation, research and KT: This also includes the globalisation of research collaboration and knowledge transfer. It is highly recommended to cooperate and take steps to improve the coherence of their respective ownership regimes as regards intellectual property rights in such a way as to facilitate crossborder collaborations and knowledge transfer in the field of research and development. In addition, we found that it is good to ensure equitable and fair treatment of participants from member states and third countries in international research projects regarding the ownership of and access to intellectual property rights, to the mutual benefit of all partners involved.

- Introducing or adapting national KT guidelines and legislation: Use the principles outlined in this recommendation as a basis for introducing or adapting national guidelines andlegislation. The harmonisation of intellectual property ownership may bring several benefits, such as easier collaborative research and the reduction of information and other transaction costs. In addition, it creates an additional incentive for PROs to dedicate time and effort to commercialisation activities. A de-bureaucratisation of KT processes may contribute as well in this respect.

- Improved monitoring of policy measures and KT performance: The list of best practices includes also that the necessary mechanisms should be put in place to monitor and review the progress made by national public research organisations in knowledge transfer activities, e.g. through annual reports of the individual public research organisations. Public KT policy, e.g. legislation, funding and information proliferation, should be evidence-based to be effective and efficient. An important part of this evidence base are the statistical data about KT performance and Knowledge Transfer Offices objectives. It would also help PROs benchmark their
own KT practices. Also, ensure that all public research organizations define knowledge transfer as a strategic mission.

3. SERVICE DOCUMENTS
Based upon the insights from the survey (see 1) and existent general knowledge, our project developed service documents, especially to respond to the backlog of uninformed and unskilled stakeholders. All service documents are available both in Russian and English language on the website of NoGAP. Besides, they were printed and distributed among stakeholders.

- Handbook for services in IPR and Innovation Management: It emphasises the protection of inventions, trade marks and patents, the conflict between intellectual property rights and the principle of free movement and between the protection and enforcement of intellectual property and the need of technology transfer. Without claiming to have exhausted the targeted subjects of Innovation management support services and IPR support services, the document tries to provide an overview of the most important topics from two perspec-tives: national and European. The handbook is structured in two main parts, dealing with their respective subjects, which can be used either separately or in conjunction. Due to their intrinsic nature, the innovation part is more focused on conceptual clarifications and models, while the IPR part, which is highly regulated, is more focused upon concrete tasks and appropriate guidance.

- Handbook / Business Plan in Innovation Environment: It will help stakeholders to understand not only the importance of a properly prepared business plan but also the issues generated by mistakes and omissions, when starting a project, no matter of the nature (research or industry).

- A brochure related to financing issues in Technology transfer and Innovation was prepared in order to help stakeholders to understand financing issues and to forecast the cash flow needed.

- Another brochure related to technical assistance services related to market access (i.e. how to draw a technology offer and a technology request, an express of interest letter and a company profile) was prepared. It points out the characteristics and distinctiveness that a technology offer or request must contain to be clear and unambiguous. The purpose of the given brochure is to familiarize specialists, developers, entrepreneurs and investors with methods of commercialization projects advancement in the use of renewable energy sources via technology transfer networks.

- Handbook on on innovation and technology transfer adapted to the needs of three different target groups:
-- researchers: the material that you are reading is aimed at covering the most important topics of interest for researchers, in order to stimulate the approach of the academic and economic environments for producing concrete results pertaining to the generation and use of renewable energy. Without the intention of being exhaustive, the training material tries to pinpoint the main topics and discuss upon their contribution towards successful endeavors. As a consequence, subjects such as the use and exploitation of knowledge, legal framework for technology transfer or licensing are discussed in a regional context, which is relevant for the participants.
-- SMEs: The training handbook aimed at SMEs, start-ups and entrepreneurs presents the most
important issues related to innovation management and transnational partnership, which are considered as keys in bridging the gap that currently exists between the scientific contributions and business opportunities connected to the field of renewable energy. The handbook has strong interactive and practical features that will make it more impactful upon delivery to the participants.
-- Multiplicators: Even though the primary target group consists of trainers and multiplicators, this handbook can be useful also for other types of stakeholders. The handbook is intended to a wider group of users because the training has to be approached in a broader context in which the potential users of this handbook directly influence the quality of the training.

4. A DRAFT CONCEPT FOR A TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER NETWORK IN THE REGION
This draft concept was developed in addition to the project requirements and transferred to our PO, Thierry Devars, in December 2014. Europe needs to stay competitive and innovative, enhance its economic position and needs to exploit its full potential. Technology Transfer Centres (TTCs) are working towards by transferring the research results towards the market. Their mission is to link industry with research and function, especially for small and medium-sized companies, as a one-stop-shop (Technology offers, requests, trainings, partner identification...). Unfortunately, the offices existing as well as their processes are very fragmented and diverse within Europe. This is why the EU’s Innovation Union flagship initiative underlines to strengthen knowledge transfer offices through trans-national collaboration. Though there is not one proven way how to do technology transfer, we propose to boost innovation through a European TTC network based on the following ideas:

a) Invest in existing contact points of competence instead of new infrastructure:
- Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) established by the European Commission.
- Danube Transfer Centre (DTC) network established by Steinbeis Innovation gGmbH
- Of course, Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum always evaluates potential TTC locations and if it seems necessary after a thoroughly analysis, new offices have to be created.

b) Cluster TTCs according to regional focus and professional competence: TTC in EaP/Med/etc. countries should cluster. At the same time, a European TTC network may unite its members in line with their professional core competences: health care, energy issues, transport technologies, Information & communication technologies etc.

c) Connect existing and potential TTCs using ICT: during DTC project, a special communication portal called TIN-portal has been established: www.muri.utcluj.ro/tin-portal/. By matching new weaker partners with leading counterpart, the network partners form a constantly growing knowledge community.

Potential Impact:
The final results demonstrate of NoGAP significantly impact the EPC environment. This is why the POTENTIAL IMPACT (including socio-econmic impact and wider societal implications) of the NoGAP project is multifold.

1. NoGAP boosted both the theoretical know-how and practical competences of the local STAKEHOLDERS for I&TT. By means of carefully developed handbooks and guidelines covering different aspects of I&TT, the project was able to establish a solid foundation to learn I&TT and thus, to significantly push the theoretical know-how of the stakeholders in this field. In addition, training sessions for three different stake-holder groups (entrepreneurs, researchers, multiplicators) were conducted in order to train them in a practical manner. To ensure the sustainability of these training efforts, google groups and social media were im-plemented in addition. This helped to create
a ‘community’ sense and to keep the regional stakeholders updated as regards I&TT relevant events, information etc.

2. Besides, NoGAP improved the INTERACTION between research and industry on national and international level thanks to various activities. In this context, NoGAP developped the cooperation skills by means of EU-EPC tandems (Romania-Ukraine, Belarus-Germany, Georgia-Slovakia). These boosted interactions were related to writing business plans for SMEs, creating Technology Offers (TO), Expressions of Interest (EoI), Technology Request (TR), drafting company profiles and participating in brokerage events. These events resulted in various additional concrete I&TT interactions. For instance, the SME “Hansa” from Ukraine now cooperates with the ‘Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Centre of NTUU KPI’ on the design of energy efficient equipment
for a new power plant. Plus, Belarus and Georgia became members of the EEN. The Ukrainian project partner ‘Nacionalniy Tehnichniy Universitet Ukraini Kiivskiy - Politehnichniy Institut’ (NTUU KPI) was put in direct contact with the national representatives for EEN. In the following, the NTUU KPI published several EoI of university researchers and one EoI of a SME resulting in 12 replies for cooperation from all over Europe (Germany, Spain, France, Ireland...). Moreover, the networking and interaction in the field of I&TT in EPC was strongly supported through the collaboration with the ‘sister’ projects such as ener2i oder INNOVER-EAST. One output of this
cooperation is the common repository for I&TT stakeholders in the region: the IES Database. Last but not least, the potential locations for a technology transfer center in EPC were involved into the Danube Transfer Center network.

3. The consortium was able to generate a significant added value in terms of research and innovation. Many stakeholders were trained, new partnerships were established and resulted in concrete collaboration such as common proposal writing or business cases. This kind of CAPACITY BUILDING is such a long-term impact of the project. The improved competences and know-how will be used also after the end of the project. For instance, from September 2016 on, a new project “STI International Cooperation Network for Eastern Partnership Countries” – (N692471) with similar tasks as in NoGAP, e.g. promotion of innovation in the EaP countries in a coherent and complementary way with major EU’s initiatives, will be conducted and NoGAP partners will once again be partner in it contributing with improved knowledge.

4. Not to forget, though NoGAP could not directly influence the national innovation environment, its influence was at least indirect – through its strenghened partners that themselves exerted influence on NATIONAL POLICIES & strategies. For example, the innovation policy conducted by Georgian government during the project period was influenced through the NoGAP partner International Center for Advancement of Research, Technology and Innovation’ (ICARTI). ICARTI took part in many listed structures and activities (e.g. Innovation council of Georgian Parliament, World Bank Innovation Strategy, etc.) and in all events of the NoGAP project in Georgia, representatives of governmental structures participated. To cut a long story short, NoGAP succeeded in supporting the competitiveness of the EU as well as the strength of its international science and technology policy.

This impact was generated also thanks to significant DISSEMINATION and exploitation activities during the project.

1) Cooperation with RELATED PROJECTS
The main focus in this context was, first of all, to link.up to related project as foreseen in T7.4 "cluster activities". Indeed, we cooperated with six other projects: INCO-NET EaP, Ener2i, Innover-East, Reram, Secure R2I, SUAFRI EPC. The coordinators of these projects met regularly – every six months – in order to discuss progress of projects, to align work flows, avoid overlaps and improve deliverables by contributing to each other’s work. Thanks to these meetings, it was possible to generate significant synergies.

-- A common stakeholder list in the societal challenge of secure, clean and efficient ener-gy in the six countries of Eastern Partnership. NoGAP was the first project to start and thus SEZ distributed its stakeholder list to the other project coordinators to extend it. The useful final tool can be found on the website of INNOVER-EAST: the IES Database.

-- Moreover, trainings and brokerage events were combined. A calendar of events was set up and regularly updated. Topics of planned trainings and target groups were ex-changed. One example: The Georgian NoGAP partner ICARTI had 6,000€ for inviting participants from Armenia & Azerbaijan to NoGAP training sessions in Georgia. This was done successfully but money was still left. This is why the budget left was used for inviting participants from Armenia & Azerbaijan to INNOVER-EAST training sessions in Georgia in January 2016.

-- Plus, project coordinators from the ‘sister’ projects participated in meetings of an-other project. Example: The coordinators of SECURE-R2I, INNOVER-EAST and SUAFRI-EPC presented their results to the NoGAP project partners during the final event in Cluj in July 2016.

-- Besides, a common brochure of INNOVER-EAST, ener2i and NoGAP was published. They shared their insights on common bottlenecks, potentials as related to energy and renewable as well as concerning research& development in the countries of Eastern partnership. In addition, the brochure offers recommendations and summarizes the out-puts of the project. It serves as a useful give-away at relevant events.

-- Finally, a joint communication was realized, e.g. by linking project websites. All projects are presented on the NoGAP website: http://www.no-gap.eu/en/1544.php. Vice versa, the same holds true and the various project news were announced also on the website of the project partner.

2) Participation in RELEVANT EVENTS
In addition to these networking activities with related projects, all NoGAP partners used relevant events and occasions. SEZ as a coordinator put special emphasis on this task in order to promote & place NoGAP project, its activities, achievements and potentials to link it up to relevant partners. The events took place in various places as potential interested parties are across Europe. During these events, SEZ contributed to the dissemination, promotion and linking-up of NoGAP project. Besides, it has ensured the take-up of the project results.

-- Meeting of SEZ with Joint Research Center of European Commission, Location: Brussels, Date: 19 March 2014

-- Innovation Days, Location: Cluj, Date: 20-21 March 2014

-- WBC-INCO.NET Final Event, Location: Vienna, Date: 27 March 2014

-- Fifth INCO Conference, Location: Athens, Date: 1-4 June 2014

-- Jean Monnet Conference: EU Eastern Partnership – From Ca-pacities to Excellence. Strengthening Research, Regional and Innovation Policies in the Context Of Horizon 2020, Location: Riga, Date: 12-13 June 2014

-- High-level event on the scientific support to the Danube strategy, Location: Vienna, Date: 24 June 2014

-- Innovation Forum, Location: Bucharest, Date: 16-17 October 2014

-- Innovation Days, Location: Cluj, Date: 19-20 March 2015

-- Health Systems, Location: Stuttgart, Date: 18 June 2015

-- Eastern European Partnership Panel on Research & Innovation, Location: Brussels, Date: 23 June 2015

-- KIC Inno Energy, Location: Craiova, Date: 30 November 2015
A detailed overview of all activities of all partners can be found in section 4.2 of this report.

List of Websites:
http://www.no-gap.eu/

Related information

Reported by

Steinbeis Innovation gGmbH
Germany
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