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European Knowledge Transfer Society

Final Report Summary - EUKTS (European knowledge transfer society)

Executive summary:

The EUKTS project has been established to increase the standard and recognition of the knowledge and technology transfer (KTT) profession across Europe. Higher standards and greater recognition are essential elements in enhancing pan-European innovation by increasing the effectiveness of KTT and interaction between industry, academia and public research organisations.

The scope of the EUKTS project addresses OMC CREST recommendation regarding the need for a more efficient common survey and data collection system on KTT activities and a set of training and professional quality standards for KTT practitioners.

A number of European Commission (EC) policy statements, including those of the former scientific and technical research committee (CREST), have identified the area of KTT as a structural weakness, particularly in relation to the shortage of KTT professionals, the attractiveness of KTT as a career, the absence of standardised training and the lack of KTT certification with Europe-wide recognition.

Innovation union stresses the need to further strengthen KTT in public research centres and to promote collaboration between academia and business at the transnational level.

The EUKTS project is based on previous relevant experiences. Amongst these the certified transnational technology transfer manager project - CERT-TTT-M (Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) RTD OMC-NET, 2007-2009), whereby a first European training framework for practitioners in KTT field has been defined.

EUKTS is a consortium that consists of major KTT professional associations, training providers and policy makers. Through the EUKTS project, using a bottom-up approach, the consortium has set out a framework for certification and accreditation of individuals and training providers along with a model of curriculum of skills and competencies for the KTT profession. The EUKTS framework is unique in terms of the comprehensive coverage it provides, not currently available for the KTT profession. The framework provides a structure for the certification of KTT professionals from all sectors including industry, universities, other public research organisations, and government.

As a result of a speeding up in the implementation of project activities, the EUKTS consortium agreed on a redefinition of project activities, approved by EC. In particular, the consortium decided to develop a pilot plan for piloting and implementing EUKTS on a phased basis, having the awareness of the significant increase in the activity of KTT organisations in developing and launching KTT accreditation and certification programmes in Europe. Delays in the establishment of EUKTS would seriously impact on its ability to gain market share and the level of membership necessary for sustainability.

In order to provide additional activities focused on the involvement of stakeholders and follow-up strategy, a project prolongation has been asked and granted by the EC.

Letters of support for the EUKTS model have been received from 29 organisations in 18 Member States (MS).

The EUKTS consortium is now inviting participation by government agencies, institutions and companies which recognise the strategic value of this new organisation to Europe and the MS.

Project context and objectives:

The EUKTS project intends to propose a model for the European KTT society (EUKTS), a single world-class KTT organisation which can harmonise and coordinate relevant stakeholders in KTT field. The design of the EUKTS is based on a bottom-up approach and defines aims, functions and activities of the EUKTS, its role in European political scenarios and relationships with other initiatives. The model is supported by a feasibility study providing details on internal organisational and legal aspects including the economical sustainability.

The principal aim of the EUKTS is to establish a European not-for profit organisation with the main functions of:
- providing accreditation for KT training providers;
- managing the process of certification of KT professionals;
- ensuring the availability of comprehensive data on KT activity;
providing international recognition for KT professionals.

The EUKTS project intends to increase the status and recognition of the KTT profession by developing adequate professional and training standards including the definition of the professional KTT curriculum and procedures for accreditation of courses and certification of individuals at different stages of their professional career.

The recognition process is structured on procedures for accreditation and reaccreditation of courses and certification and recertification of KTT professionals.

Organisation structure
The EUKTS organisation structure includes:
- an assembly of stakeholders (AoS) consisting of international stakeholders including transnational KTT associations, industry associations, European Patent Office (EPO) or appointed representative, European University Association (EUA) (or other knowledge provider), industry professional groups, EC representative, and representative of European innovation policy. The AoS will meet on an annual basis. The AoS will be chaired by the president who will also chair the board of directors (BoD).
- A BoD will develop the strategy for EUKTS for approval by AoS. It will review accreditation and certification procedures and criteria for the major initiatives of EUKTS.
- The EUKTS managing director will be independent from any of the stakeholder groups. The managing director will be a full time appointment and will be the administratively, legally and fiscally responsible person.
- Specialised committees established by BoD in areas, such as accreditation, certification, data collection, coordination, finance-marketing and ethical issues.

Membership
EUKTS will not have members per se. Its stakeholders will be KTT organisations from the European Community. Stakeholders will be invited to attend the annual meeting of stakeholders.

Stakeholders may join on a volunteer basis, but the aim will be to ensure that all major constituencies / stakeholders are represented.

Major stakeholders include:
- transnational professional KT organisations based in the EC;
- transnational industry associations;
- network of regional agencies for innovation;
- the EPO or their appointed representative;
- EUA (or other knowledge providers);
- industry professional groups involved in KT or their appointed representative;
- the EC directorate or its representative;
- representatives of training providers (public and / or private);
- representatives of European innovation policy.

The criteria for acceptance of transnational professional or industrial organisations wishing to participate as stakeholders in EUKTS are:
- European or regional European scope (minimum three countries) of the organisation;
- minimum size of organisation - to be established based on breath of representation in their field / region (by the BoD and approved by the AoS);
- scope / mission - to be primarily for the purpose of KTT;
- no single region / stakeholder group / industry sector should be represented by more than one third of all stakeholders.

Overall, the stakeholders group should strive for an appropriate balance in representation between public, private and industry participants in EUKTS. Stakeholder acceptance by EUKTS will be subject to approval by the AoS on the recommendation of the BoD.

Main objectives
The objective of the EUKTS framework was to develop a pan-European set of standards for the KTT profession by:
- providing accreditation and reaccreditation for training providers in order to ensure quality and consistency;
- managing the process of certification and recertification of individuals in order to recognise and / or provide a measure of quality for professionals in the KTT field;
- making recommendations for collection of data on KT activities, drawing on the activities of existing professional networks.

The EUKTS curriculum has been designed to provide KTT professionals with the necessary expertise. The curriculum covers the following core competences:
1. information analysis and management; 2.
strategy and intellectual property (IP) portfolio;
3. IP protection;
4. opportunity assessment and valuation;
5. KT and marketing of innovations;
6. negotiating and contracting;
7. new business development and financing;
8. project management.

EUKTS accreditation has been designed to provide assurance as to the quality and relevance of the course content to KTT practitioners, and the quality assurance measures and procedures adopted by the provider in delivering the courses. Rules and procedures have been developed to recognise KTT professionals at various stages in their careers. EUKTS certification will be offered at three levels: basic, intermediate, advanced. The model also includes procedures for grandfathering at intermediate and advanced levels, which addresses the recognition of highly experience individuals. The EUKTS consortium has decided for the implementation at basic level. Therefore, it has defined a complete basic level curriculum, together with the main parameters for its concrete implementation by course providers. Outline plans for implementation of EUKTS at intermediate and advanced levels were prepared as part of the feasibility study. The consortium is now seeking support for the full implementation of the EUKTS model at all three levels.

Project results:

The EUKTS project has been established to increase the standard and recognition of the KTT profession across Europe. EUKTS is a consortium that consists of major KTT professional associations, training providers and policy-makers. Through the EUKTS project, using a bottom-up approach, the consortium has set out a framework for certification and accreditation of individuals and training providers along with a model of curriculum of skills and competencies for the KTT profession. The EUKTS framework provides a structure for the certification of KTT professionals from all sectors including industry, universities, other public research organisations, and government.

In order to provide an input to the design of the EUKTS model, a preliminary analysis has been undertaken, by the professional associations members of the consortium, collecting data of relevant existing initiatives and good practices in the KTT field, with specific attention to the structures and functions of professional associations / networks, metrics system already implemented and training quality standard for practitioners.

The preliminary analysis was intended to provide an input to the design of the EUKTS model. In designing the EUKTS model, recognising that there are many associations, societies and organisations involved in developing KTT in Europe and that it would not be appropriate to establish the EUKTS as another independent organisation, it was decided that EUKTS should be established by the existing KTT organisations who would be the main stakeholders (or shareholders) in the EUKTS.

The role of the EUKTS will be to maximise the impact of its stakeholders on European KTT by:
- facilitating greater cooperation in existing KT programmes; and
- establishing and managing new programmes and initiatives supporting KTT with special emphasis on technology transfer and commercialisation in the European Community.

It was proposed that the EUKTS would assist stakeholders in establishing and managing new programmes supporting KTT, with special emphasis on:
- accreditation of training providers;
- certification of KTT professionals;
- collection and analysis of comprehensive KTT data for policy makers and others involved in the development of KTT in Europe.

The proposed model consists of three levels of certification for individuals: basic, intermediate and advanced, offered within the CERT-TT-M framework developed by a previous EC funded project.

The basic level will be attained by undertaking a course at a university or private provider and the award of a diploma; the intermediate level will be awarded on the passing of a modular, multiple choice examination similar to that currently offered by CLP in the United States (US); the advanced level will be awarded on the submission of an experienced led case study and assessment by jury.

A feasibility study has been undertaken with the aim to design the EUKTS model, ensuring that this model can be able to develop adequate training standards and to arrange for collection of data on KTT activities, drawing on the activities of existing professional networks.

A partial redefinition of project activities has been carried out. It was underlined that during the period from the project submission (June 2008) to its starting phase (January 2010) the context and needs of target groups were changed, requiring acceleration in the development of certification process for KTT professionals. The analysis of the context led to the necessity to introduce a pilot plan which meant some partial changes and introduction of additional new activities.

List of websites: http://www.eukts.eu