CORDIS - EU research results

PROs GRowing Europe through best practice SolutionS for Technology Transfer

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PROGRESS-TT (PROs GRowing Europe through best practice SolutionS for Technology Transfer)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-12-31

The aim of the PROGRESS-TT project was to better equip Public Research Organizations (PROs) to transfer valuable knowledge and technology to industry, leading to increased innovation and, in turn, economic growth. This aim translated in two overarching objectives: i. creating higher levels of TT expertise in Europe to ii. contribute to greater commercialization of scientific knowledge in Europe. Towards achieving these objectives, project impact after three years of one-to-one and wide-reaching support activities can be summarised (figure 1) and evidenced as follows:

• Through 16 wide-reaching Learning Events (training, workshops, bootcamps and webinars), PROGRESS-TT assisted 325 professionals in 127 TTOs, across the EU28 and H2020 associated countries; participants rated these events with a 90% overall satisfaction rate and primarily in Southern and Eastern Europe, where the needs for increased capacity were the highest.

• 29 TTOs and one TT Fund took part in the intensive one-to-one Coaching and Mentoring Programme of PROGRESS-TT; they reported an average of over 56% perceived improvement in their capacity to transfer technology, more than double the 20% increase initially targeted in the PROGRESS-TT Capacity Building Strategy. Upon completion of the support programme, 96% of the 29 coached TTOs and the TT Fund declared they wished to continue with similar capacity building activities in the short term and indeed some have already engaged in follow up mentoring with their programme experts outside of PROGRESS-TT.
Underpinning the success of PROGRESS-TT is the creation of an innovative Capacity Building Strategy for European TTOs based on the following five pillars:

1. Better understand the European TTO ecosystem (WP1)
PROGRESS-TT carried out research in better framing TTO mandates with their PROs and how TTOs structure their activities. In a nutshell, TTO mandates given or agreed with their PRO may not primarily focus on revenue generation from IP commercialization but may have significant focus on supporting the PRO and its faculties and on creating impact in their innovation ecosystem by the creation of new spin-outs and projects. That recognition has and will continue helping TTOs better focus their resources and the PRO management have a clearer idea of the role and function of the TTO inside the PRO. In addition, PROGRESS-TT also studied how to better articulate TTOs’ needs in terms of individual practitioner and team capacity building by mapping these needs onto 4 critical areas of focus (CAFs) as follows:
1. Scouting ideas from the PRO and incentivizing researchers to disclose IP;
2. Assessing IP potential, validating technologies and incentivizing for commercialization;
3. Accessing finance and interacting with financial stakeholders;
4. Securing TTO Staff skills and organizing the TTO for optimum growth.

2. Map the TTO community (WP1)
The project created a database that collects information about European TTOs as part of a larger, off-project effort by Fraunhofer, called IPBase, focused on identifying all the IP related professionals and their service focus worldwide. It is also one of the first platforms to offer an organic and concrete commercial context for European TTOs. It provides TTOs with a one-stop shop for the technology they are commercializing and the technology or scientific domains on which they operate, enabling future platform developments in the form of marketplaces, showcases and more generally as a marketing tool.

3. Build solutions (WP2 and 3)
19 Best Practices and 45 related case-studies in the 4 CAFs were documented and are now publicly available. This body of knowledge is an extremely valuable and unique learning resource for the TTO community. They were collected and formatted for training and coaching activities. Practices and Cases were gathered from various sources including: TTO staff, including academia, research organisations, large industry and public bodies; PRO Management; Industry; TT funds; and Researchers into technology transfer. They are available on the PROGRESS-TT and the ASTP-Proton websites.

4. Offer one-to-many and one-to-one support (WP4)
The PROGRESS-TT Capacity Building support was delivered via an articulated programme of one-to-many type of Learning Events such as webinars, workshops, training and boot camps underpinned by the best practice and case studies identified across Europe and delivered by subject matter experts. 325 TT professionals attended the 16 events.

5. Deliver high-impact content to selected beneficiaries (WP5)
A semi-automated tool for TTO self-assessment, called the “TT-Diagnostic” was developed and used by more than 100 TTOs; the experience of using the tool can now be the basis for future development of self-assessment and learning solutions for the TTO community. The tool was used as a filtering in 2 calls for interest to help select 30 selected TTOs and TT Funds to take part in the one-to-one coaching and mentoring programme of PROGRESS-TT (up to 12 days of individual support delivered by selected coaches).

Going forward (WP6)
To continue building on the momentum created by PROGRESS-TT, it is essential to consolidate the learning achieved and sustain the capacity building effort to extend it to complementary and challenging topics such as competences for deal-making and increased revenue-generation capacity. In its Legacy Plan, PROGRESS-TT recommends, as a priority, that a “TTO Accelerator” programme be launched to continue supporting TTOs that have successfully increased their capacity through PROGRESS-TT and to start taking other high-potential TTOs across Europe on a journey moving them closer to successful deal-making and commercialization of their IP portfolios. That next step may be facilitated either through private initiatives or further public funding.
The project has worked on two breakthrough outputs:

Output 1 - Sustainable, comprehensive strategy for building capacity in TT across Europe
There have been many previous attempts at improving technology transfer in Europe. However, many of these approaches have been local, disjointed and short term. To generate any long-term outcomes from this project, we must have a clear strategy which leads to a sustainable model of technology transfer optimisation. PROGRESS-TT during its first 18 months has generated a Capacity Building Strategy (CBS) for Technology Transfer Professionals proposing an implementation plan for the PROGRESS-TT solutions across Europe; this CBS has been further developed in the second half of the project by ASTP-Proton into a Legacy Plan which will survive the project.

Output 2 – Higher levels of TT expertise in Europe
The identification and dissemination of identified Best Practice and Case Studies at European level; this work is to our knowledge the first of its kind in its scale and approach; leveraging the existing wealth of knowledge of the TT community to inspire and stimulate its members is an essential step towards the professionalisation of the community.

These two outputs will in turn enable the project to deliver longer term outcomes as follows:
Outcome 3 - Higher levels of TT expertise in Europe. Overall, the value of the economic impact of the PROGRESS-TT Capacity Building effort is expected to help supported TTOs generate an additional 42.09 Mill EUR in additional revenue over the upcoming 8 years.