Proposals will aim at establishing a European network of Industrial Liaison and Contact Officers (ILOs/ICOs) engaged with pan-European research infrastructures, including ESFRI landmarks and projects, as well as of other relevant world class research infrastructures of European interest. ILOs/ICOs, with different degrees of experience and representing a broad range of scientific domains should be actively involved in the action. Proposals should address:
- training sessions and exchange of best practises across various research domains;
- enhanced cross-border and cross-thematic brokerage events such as innovation exhibitions and industry-research infrastructures showcases;
- joint awareness campaigns towards industry (including SMEs) on the potential added-value of engagement with research infrastructures for their activities. This could include specific support to industrial partners in acquiring the know-how on procurement actions related to Research Infrastructures.
- the analysis of national indicators to measure the performances of ILO/ICOs’ activities.
The development and maintenance of portals providing information on research infrastructures' calls, tenders, future needs and technology transfer opportunities, could also be considered.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The concept of industry as a full partner of Research Infrastructures (both as supplier and as user) should be proactively put in practice; this implies to promote a more extensive partnerships on joint research and development projects, addressing the development of advanced technologies, as well as specific activities fostering collaboration such as innovation, training and exchange programmes.
Industrial Liaison[[Industry Liaison Officers (ILO) are officially appointed by the Member States and Associated Countries to stimulate the collaboration among the national industry and the international research infrastructures, providing advice on business opportunities, R&D collaborations, call for tenders and industrial services.]] and Contact[[Industry Contact Officers (ICO) are research infrastructure staff in charge of developing business relations with all potential industrial suppliers of innovative components or services as well as encouraging the economical use of their facility by private players.]] Officers (ILOs/ICOs) engaged with Research Infrastructures play an essential role for stimulating effective and tighter links with industry as suppliers or users. Mutual learnings among ILOs/ICOs and exchange of information on various aspects such as: awareness and communication strategies, procurements activities, industry requirements and marketing of new technologies developed for their facility, will help to raise the level of innovative actions arising from Research Infrastructures and maximise the impact of their activities.
This activity will:
- Increase the awareness of industry (including SMEs) regarding opportunities offered by research infrastructures and its involvement in the development of research infrastructures technologies and services, thus raising the technological level and competitiveness of European companies;
- Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the services provided by the ILO and ICOs;
- Help research infrastructures to develop more business oriented activities, including specific support and services dedicated to industry, and the promotion of skills to manage any resulting intellectual property right;
- Provide a better insight into the return of investment in and societal impact of Research Infrastructures.