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Exploiting EU research results through Technology Marketplace

Technology Marketplace is a CORDIS space devoted to exploiting emerging technologies from EU research and development. The service is currently being transformed to provide a more direct and interactive service. New features and better ways of browsing the Technology Marketpla...

Technology Marketplace is a CORDIS space devoted to exploiting emerging technologies from EU research and development. The service is currently being transformed to provide a more direct and interactive service. New features and better ways of browsing the Technology Marketplace research results will shortly be added, as well as an automatic alerting service. The upgraded service will be featured in a CORDIS Focus supplement when it is launched. Technology Marketplace began life in 1998 as a proposal for a new format for presenting the results of R&D projects, which can so easily be hidden away in publications and databases. CORDIS wanted to make use of multi-media technology to create a site that would appeal to those who have the ability to make use of the fruits of European research. The role of Innovation-SME Programme, which is responsible for CORDIS, ranges from encouraging wide participation in the Framework Programmes, to exploitation of the results. This second task is by far the more difficult one as interest in participation is naturally driven by the prospect of financial support for research projects. Technology Marketplace aims to alert potential users, especially SMEs, to the useful technology developed by EU research projects. Technology Marketplace is also a platform for intermediary organisations to use. Innovation Relay Centres have the responsibility to promote exploitation of technology within their regions and Technology Marketplace provides them with one tool to both promote local technologies and to scan for technologies that could bring profit and growth to their local companies. The service builds substantially on the CORDIS results service. All exploitation-related information has been gathered together and displayed on the Technology Marketplace site. The service originally went live with a sample of Technology Offers - selected research results with commercial applications - during the launch of the Fifth Framework programme in February 1999. The new service was well received and so a regular supply of new offers was established both on-line, and in the CORDIS Focus Results supplements. Within 12 months the site had established its success with a monthly usage which topped 10,000 page accesses. Anyone can submit an offer of a technology for inclusion on Technology Marketplace. It does not have to be from a project co-financed by the EU. Offers have to be submitted for inclusion in the results database, and can then be edited to form the browsable offer. For an offer to be accepted to the results database it has to be the outcome of a substantial research project, and be capable of exploitation by another organization. Commercial offers of products and services are excluded. Ideally it should be patented if it is a commercial offer, and the offer can for example be for the licence or sale of the technology, or for joint manufacturing and marketing agreements. However, many offers are technologies for exploitation in the public good, for example concerning the environment, or transport, and some offers are of tools and models for scientific use. CORDIS receives in excess of 1 million visits per year and is therefore a useful place to promote technology offers. Within the next few months the service will be improved. A promotional pilot scheme for Technology Marketplace has been tested, in which CORDIS in collaboration with the Quality of Life Programme, sent targeted and relevant offers by email to SMEs. Of those consulted, only 3 per cent of recipients asked to be unsubscribed, while 100 per cent of the remaining recipients indicated they appreciated the free information. More significantly, 40 per cent of recipients reported that they had been inspired to take some exploitation action by receiving these emails. The long-term objective is the development of a 'Virtual Technology Fair' as stated in the Work Programme of the Innovation-SME Programme. The fair is intended to function as a portal to many resources of exploitable technology. Novel ideas are being worked on, for example the possibility for 3D navigation where visitors can browse through a virtual space of stands from around the world.