CORDIS - EU research results

Wroclaw Centre of Excellence

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WCE (Wroclaw Centre of Excellence)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

The objective of the action is to establish Wroclaw Centre of Excellence (WCE), by a close collaboration of Wroclaw University of Technology with two German partners – University of Würzburg and Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology in Dresden, renowned science institutions. WCE is going to be an economically sustainable entity of research excellence, innovative technology and device development on the state-of-the-art level. A special focus will be put on nanophotonics and modern manufacturing technologies, synergy of which provides unique opportunities world-wide, e.g. for “smart” parts directly manufactured with embedded nanophotonic sensors.

The Wroclaw Centre of Excellence project is a response to European Commission call WIDESPREAD-1-2014: Teaming, of the call H2020-WIDESPREAD-2014. This project responds to the work program “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation”, which aims to reduce internal research and innovation disparities within the European Union by supporting research and innovation activities and systems in low performing countries. The project addresses a specific challenge defined by the work program – namely, the presence of substantial disparities in the European Research and Innovation landscape.
Since last decade EC has observed increasing differences among Member States in terms of research and innovation performance. Among many reasons for those disparities lack of critical mass of science and insufficient number of scientific institutions on high level of excellence seemed to be the most urgent problem to be solved.
As a respond to those problems European Commission decided to start “Teaming for Excellence” competition. The aim of the call was to create high level Centre of Excellence in those countries which innovativeness level is not satisfactionary.
It was stated that by increasing number of Centres of Excellence with high scientific potential in those countries that has low factor of innovation may result in achieving slow but sustain innovative growth.
Moreover, spreading scientific excellence from more advanced countries to member states that struggle with low innovation of their economy may help those countries to overcome financial crisis that may happen in Europe. This will help those regions to become more competitive in national and international markets.
In the first phase of the competition beneficiaries in partnership with Partners of Excellence had to prepare high quality business plan for the new Centre of Excellence.

The financial sustainability of WCE, which should be achieved after first seven years of its operation, requires efficient acquisition of funds as well as commercialization of results. The last requires successful realization of research and development projects, with a strong focus on ideas having high potential for commercialization of the generated knowledge. In order to achieve that goals WCE can benefit from one of its most important competitive advantages, i.e. the cooperation with excellent German institutions – Fraunhofer IWS and Würzburg University, with the support of Wrocław University of Technology, one of the best Polish technical universities. Since the scientific expertise of WCE and its partners is complementary, many common projects involving one or more partnering institutions are foreseen.
Besides joint initiatives, WCE artners’ help can be also crucial in every stage of the projects’ preparation. They may both propose ideas and help in developing concepts proposed by WCE scientists. Their vast experience and contact networks offer opportunities for finding suitable collaboration for any endeavour and appropriate funding sources. They can also consult on the process of preparing the proposals for projects.
Finally, during the realisation stage, the partners offer their expertise for efficient management and administration of R&D projects and advise on the means of exploitation of its results. WCE will act not only as a research institution but also serve as a technology transfer centre. In this capacity it will realize actions to support the creation of spin-offs together with local industrial companies. It will be win-win circumstances for all the involved parties, especially that it is considered the spin-offs and the companies to have a guided access to the WCE infrastructure, and hence WCE will become a co-working space. Besides R&D, WCE will also participate in educational projects, most often accompanying the R&D activities. Partner participation for this group of projects will include primarily delegating MSc and PhD student but also common training programmes, suchas e.g. Erasmus + Strategic Partnerships.
The project was realized by the partnership of 4 entities: NCBR from Poland, Wroclaw University of Technology also from Poland, Fraunhofer Institute from Germany, and Julius-Maximilians Universitaet Wuerzburg. The action was coordinated by National Centre for Research and Development, Wroclaw University of Technology played a role of the leader, and University of Wurzburg and FhG was sharing their experience as a Partners of Excellence. Together Consortium members finalized the first phase of Teaming for Excellence competition, created professional business plan and submit the proposal for the second ToE phase.

The most important issues concerning project realisation were discuses during the project meetings but members of the consortium were in the constant contact through numerous video and teleconferences between the partners. During the project realisation 4 meetings was held – 2 in Poland and 2 at Germany: Kick-off meeting in Warsaw 16th June on , Würzburg, on 24th-25th September, Dresden, on 26-27th November and finally at Warsaw 19th February.
All the partners workout and signed Consortium Agreement in which all the tasks and responsibility for the work packages were evenly distributed between consortium members.

The activities related to the first stage of the project, were described in DoA and realised without any deviations from this document. Works were devided into 9 work packages:

In Work Package WP1 “Strategic basis of Business Plan” , Consortium members work out a preliminary formulation of the WC Emission together and proposed organization legal structure which ensure the Centre’s autonomy and allow realizing its mission. They also elaborated the planned research and development areas in view of national and regional strategies, especially the smart specializations, which serve as a base for the final strategy plan and for its implementation. In the next deliverable Consortium members described frames of cooperation between the established WCE institution and the partners of WCE within the ‘Teaming for Excellence’ programme. This covers the ways of collaboration in various types of activities as well as the participation of the project partners in the management bodies of WCE. To the document a draft of the cooperation agreement was attached. Lastly in this WP partners described the rules and guidelines for efficient acquisition of funding and realisation of research and development projects in collaboration with WCE partnering institutions. Flow of information between partners is ilustrated, the decision chain within WCE, legal aspects of IP protection and sharing and financial management. It also gives guidelines for good practices in cooperation.

In Work Package 2 “Market Analysis”Consortium members presented a competition analysis preceded by description of a scientific base of the WCE centre defining its research capabilities and the expertise. They described the research areas with the largest growth potential based on the analysis of the relevant industry and its needs on the regional, national and European level.
In WP3 “WCE technology and Science” partners presented the description of the agenda of the research planed for WCE. The main scientific fields of WCE interest have been described. The proposed directions of the research cover MIR sources and detectors, sensors for diagnostics and monitoring systems, laser technologies for functional structures, additive manufacturing for industry and medicine and simulation and optimization of the manufacturing processes. In second deliverable PoE presented the education-oriented activities of WCE, realized in cooperation with established higher education institutions, aimed at students of various level. Plan for trainings designed for WCE personnel, intended to enhance their excellence in science and technology was presented. Special training events for external audience are also described, meant to disseminate WCE technological potential in order to find new customers/partners.
In Work package 4 - “WCE Marketing & Excellence Services” Members of consortium presented a marketing plan – a strategy to build a strong brand for WCE and to establish objectives determining market position. Report in D4.2 determines and describes what services and product lines are to be required to complete WCE research and development works with applicable results/products. It also presents how results of scientific and research work will be transferred to industry/market and from partners to WCE in an effective way. This WP also contain a report concerning WCE business relations strategy, including rules for spin offs and spin outs shall be prepared.

In WP5 Communication, PoE created a description of WCE public relations approach including marketing-related communication, crisis management, internal communication and general rules of communication with scientific institutions, industrial environment and with the public and the routes of the non-commercial knowledge exploitation. It includes the strategy of WCE-generated results effective dissemination and covers the rules of determination if the information should be protected or disseminated. On the last stage Corporate Identity has been described. The main aim of the CI design is to create and promote brand awareness for the WCE, to introduce the WCE’s identity and its uniqueness and differentiate it from other, already existing, research institutions. This WP covers the description of logo, its meaning, the rules of proper usage of all visual identity elements and includes brandbook which plays a role of corporate identity guide.

In WP6 “Legal & IP related issues” Consortium members created:
• A report concerning a proposed legal structure of the Wroclaw Centre of Excellence, which will enable the successful realization of its objectives, placing the developed organizational structure of WCE into legal framework. This report describes the management bodies and their roles. In addition, a draft of the WCE “Company Agreement” was created, which is going to be the main document regulating all the legal issues.
• A report concerning management structure for WCE, based on Partners’ experience and legal requirements, and including both strategic and operational management. It contains the description of management bodies of all levels.

• A report concerning WCE internal rules on the Intellectual Property management and protection.

• A report concerning a primary set of standards to be observed during WCE operations, both regarding the organization of its activities and methods used in future R&D works, and issues of ethics and gender to be respected and monitored for conformance with legal regulations.

In WP7 WCE Management, consortium members described management structure for WCE, basing on Partners’ experience and legal requirements, including both strategic and operational management and the description of management bodies of all levels.
In WP8 – “Business Plan Development and Administration”, consortium members identified potential national and structural funding sources for WCE, created a report on plans for exploitation of results of major research and development projects executed in the first phase of WCE operation, prepared business plan draft and final version of business plan. As the last deliverable in this WP coordinator of the project submitted BP to the Commision.

In WP9 “Project management” partners presented periodic progress in project realisation as well as management system that resulted in a successful business plan and proposal submission. Document presents activities and actions taken by the Co-ordinator and Partners of Excellence due to project realisation.
Increasing scientific capabilities of a "Widening" Country (Poland) and enable it to engage in a strategic growth path pointing to long-term opportunities for economic development.

WCE-LST will focus on research areas being directly transformable into applications, and further into commercialization, where the development directions will be driven by the local industry and business organizations to be involved in the WCE-LST advisory boards. The Centre also aims at developing an atmosphere for innovation-based synergy between academic research and industry. All activities will be realized as a result of the extensive experience and joint efforts of the involved teams, as well as the German partners from the University of Würzburg and Fraunhofer IWS in Dresden. Such consortium offers a worldwide unique combination of expertise in photonics and manufacturing technologies, which will be exploited for the development of new classes of elements, devices and solutions in production processes, going beyond the state-of-the-art, with tremendous application potential and related market needs, as well as high relevance for modern society. In this way WCE-LST will increase scientific capabilities of regional and national research and industrial community and enable them to engage in a strategic growth path. This will result in growth of R&D operations and improvement of chances to receive funding in international competitions (including EU Framework Programmes).
According to the newest trends in the field, WCE-LST shall broaden the channels for commercialisation of public research by promoting two-way flows between industry and science, for example through public-private partnerships, joint research initiatives/centres, outward and inward licensing of IP by universities and public research institutions, and incentives for the mobility of entrepreneurial academics.

Allow the country (Poland) to improve its chances to seek competitive funding in international fora (including the EU Framework Programmes) through improved scientific capabilities

Technological development is the main focus of the WCE-LST. This development and the intensive support by the University of Würzburg and Fraunhofer IWS will additionally enhance the national and international position of the WCE-LST, and accelerate the Polish teams in the competition regarding the area of nanophotonics and advanced manufacturing in Europe. As additional benefit it is expected that the strong position of the WCE-LST will allow applying efficiently for funding from various instruments of Horizon 2020 Programme as well as from the respective national funding institutions, which will increase the innovation power of the WCE-LST even further.

Achieve a measurable and significant improvement in the research and innovation culture of the country (Poland) over the medium to long term.

To execute research projects WCE-LST will co-operate with various Polish research institutions as well as engage scientists. Their engagement into successful project teams working with methods developed on base of innovation and organizational culture adopted from Partners is going to encourage them to adopt and disseminate this culture, as measure of effectiveness and successful actions, in their own working environment. Dissemination of WCE-LST research results and co-operation with numerous domestic scientists are going to be foundations of spreading innovation culture.
The goal of the non-commercial part of the dissemination is to provide an access to the results generated by WCE-LST to the wide audience, while the commercial exploitation will focus mostly on providing profit to the WCE-LST. Overall, it will provide long-term sustainability of the project outputs and at the same time it will increase the WCE-LST public awareness. The important goal of the results dissemination will be also to increase the publicly available state-of-the-art knowledge, which in turn will enhance the national scientific potential of the community, especially in Lower Silesia region. The special emphasis will be put on the increase in the awareness of the role of science in development on economic and social levels, especially in Polish conditions. It corresponds directly with the policy of the Polish government, which indicates the science as the foundation for development of lasting innovative economy. The dissemination activities will be followed by engaging the target groups to provide feedback to adjust the WCE-LST operation to its needs.

Accruing benefits to the institutions from the more intensive research and innovation performers, in terms of access to new research avenues, creativity and the development of new approaches, as well as a source for increased mobility (inwards and outwards) of qualified scientists.

Partners, who are more intensive research and innovation performers will share their expertise and extensively transfer excellence with following measures:
 participation in International Advisory Board,
 enabling the access to the laboratory equipment,
 executing joint R&D projects,
 consulting on research strategy, commercialization and business related issues,
 joint MSc and PhD theses,
 training programs.
Partners will actively look for opportunities of joint research and development projects and promote the participation of WCE-LST in project consortia. The partner institutions will directly participate in the R&D activities conducted in WCE-LST. Joint executions of projects includes temporary inclusion of researchers from Partner institution to project team in WCE-LST as well as temporary inclusion of WCE-LST researchers into project team in Partner institution – this will support transfer of research and innovation culture to WCE-LST
Based on the experiences of partners and transfer of excellence from them WCE-LST will adapt and implement:
 very successful and approved Fraunhofer model for Polish and East European market.
 science management strategies enabling efficient use of researchers potential – identification and support for natural innovators, systematic help in preparation of grant applications.
WCE logo