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Professional support to the uptake of bioeconomy RD results towards market, further research and policy for a more competitive European bioeconomy

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ProBIO (Professional support to the uptake of bioeconomy RD results towards market, further research and policy for a more competitive European bioeconomy)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2017-08-31

ProBIO had a very ambitious goal: to make the best-possible use of results generated in FP7 KBBE projects. This initiative served in fact the project consortia of FP7 as well as the EC by preparing the knowledge from past projects for use as market product, process, material or application, for use as input to further R&D&I work and for use to inform policy making.
The overarching goal of the ProBIO project is two-fold:
1. to address the flow of bioeconomy R&I project results (supported by EC under FP7 KBBE programme) in order to accelerate gap bridging between research outputs and their market applications. This will be done by selecting, accompanying and coaching the most promising results' owners.
2. to foster networking and knowledge exchange processes between different European bio-economy initiatives and the most relevant field players in the field
From the 397 projects that have been detected in 1st period 76 results have been selected to be assisted by ProBIO and 68 B3Os of them were selected for further ProBIO support. 27 were selected for market uptake support and 41 were selected for further R&I support.
Within the identified 27 B3Os that could be coached towards commercialization, 3 were redistributed to WP4 for further R&I development, and 5 were closed without receiving coaching due to different factors (primarily lack of interest, a low availability or difficulties in getting relevant information and /or contacts).
This left 19 B3Os for coaching towards commercial exploitation. Out of these 10 finished with Business Plan towards further commercial exploitation.
In the first reporting period, ProBIO consortium has put the major efforts in the selection of KBBE projects, collection of information on results and identification of the most interesting and promising ones for further delivery of support services.
397 projects have been detected and 76 results have been selected to be assisted by ProBIO and structured in a B3O template (i.e. Bio-Based Business Opportunity), a form that describes in detail the projects’ results, the development stage and the owner.
The project’s second period has been totally dedicated to the analysis of the B3Os and the provision of services; also a lot of effort has been put in the identification of policy recommendations collected within cases’ analysis.
Starting from the 68 B3Os selected for ProBIO support (out of the 76 results), 27 were selected for market uptake support (WP3) and 41 were selected for further R&I support (WP4).
In WP3, the business coaching provided focused on different aspects, such as: One-on-one coaching sessions towards company creation and support in Business Plan writing; helping establishing licensing deals; Helping establish other forms of Market Uptake; workshops and webinars; preparation to ensure funding; further development of results to raise TRL.
WP4 major objective has been to support the previously selected R&I projects in their preparations of accessing follow-up funding ensuring the matching with identified funding opportunities.
In period 2, 2 major initiatives have been organised: a Clustering Event (“Exploitation strategies for Bioeconomy Research Proposals”), based on topics relevant to the WP4 result owners and which had a format encouraging the creation of new contacts between result owners and other stakeholders. The second big event was the policy Dinner Debate (“Increasing impact from publicly funded research: Lessons from the bioeconomy”) in the European Parliament in Brussels involving 60 participants from the policy-making, research and industry communities.
It’s also important to underline the strict connection between ProBIO and other initiatives at EU level, such as Vanguard, BBI-JU and Platform. In particular Platform (ERA-NETs) offered many occasions to make synergies and exchange best practices.
A great contribution has been collected also from the Advisory Board that has been created since project preparation, with direct involvement of bioeconomy key stakeholders and experts at EU level.
Regarding communication a brochure titled “Helping bioeconomy research projects raise their game - an early glimpse into the lessons learned from ProBIO” has been created and published in the final part of the project while the ProBIO newsletter has been released on a semi-annual basis. The project has also published 15 journalistic articles and launched several mail-out campaigns to the ProBIO and community. 2 Videos were also produced.
Regarding cooperation with other EU similar project, ProBIO has harmonised its actions and tasks with the other ISIB projects funded by the Commission and focused on similar topic (CommBeBiz, BioLINX and Columbus).
ProBIO is a Co-ordination and Support Action funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, which aimed to increase the impact of biotechnology research results from the 7th Framework Programme’s Knowledge-Based Bioeconomy (KBBE) Programme. Over two years, ProBIO has then screened 397 FP7 KBBE projects, looking for commercially exploitable results, and has identified and coached 68 business opportunities related to biotechnologies.
ProBIO consortium analysed the exploitation potential of the main project outputs and identified 5 barries that hamper the societal and commercial impact of European research with related five main recommendations to overcome them.
1) Too few projects generate exploitable results
Many KBBE research project results lack the innovation potential needed for commercial exploitation.
2) Lack of motivation for exploitation
The majority of research result owners are research institutions, universities and similar organisations, whose prime objective is result generation and not result exploitation.
3) Lack of business and commercial partners that can drive innovation
Many consortia lack a dedicated commercial partner who is committed to exploitation of the results.
4) Complexity of innovation process not well considered in programme set-up
The complexity of the innovation process chain in generating breakthrough innovations and reaching the market is often not sufficiently considered in programme and project set-up.
5) Need to reshape evaluation and project implementation procedures
There is a substantial need to reshape the ways and procedures by which the EC evaluates the impact side of submitted EU proposals, and assists impact generation of EU funded projects.
According to the above, some recommendations have been defined as listed below:
1) Foster more market driven R&I through substantially increased industry and SME participation;
2) Base calls for proposals for applied research projects more on strategic R&I-roadmaps, developed jointly with industrial companies;
3) More support for collaboration and demonstration by ensuring the participation of industrial technology developers and end users in the development phase of a project;
4) Provide staged funding programmes for research and innovation actions with a longer-term implementation perspective;
5) Follow-up upon the impact of project results after the end of the grant agreements.
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