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Supporting FET projects to reach out investors

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FET2RIN (Supporting FET projects to reach out investors)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2019-04-30

The main goal of FET2RIN is helping researchers to learn how to rapidly develop and test novel solutions by gathering feedbacks. Many projects fail to generate impact, as startups fail to succeed on the market, by not validating their ideas early on, with real-life customers. To mitigate that, researchers attending FET2RIN workshops will learn how to apply the lean start-up approach, getting “out of the lab”, search for unmet needs and validate their impact related assumptions. Lean Startup is a new, field-tested philosophy that, within FET2RIN, provides researchers with a toolset to increase chances of generating impact for their projects.

Validation = Idea development and testing outside the lab
• Getting customer feedback with fast-made prototypes of an idea
• Testing exploitation models and validate the results
• Pivot

The Lean methodology has proven records of considerably reducing the incidence of failure, while increasing the chances of successful commercialisation of innovative ideas. Through these courses researchers will:
• Access a unique opportunity to validate impact assumptions as well as exploitation prospects in real market conditions;
• Benefit from the knowledge gained from to peer interaction and access to expert coaches;
• Learn realistic, common-sense validation principles and acquire hands-on experience in product and customer development within a real business environment;
• Enjoy the opportunity to interact with experienced and competent mentors and advisors from industry, meet with investors and enter their networks.

Workshops followed the flipped classroom approach: video materials has been provided on-line before the coaching, and time in Brussels has been mainly devoted to team-work, discussion, debates and review.
From the beginning of the project, building on previous experiences, training materials have been created and continuously updated. In order to test the adopted methodology, Consortium anticipated capacity building activities foreseen in Year 2 under WP3 and WP4. By doing so, all partners implemented a pilot capacity building session, to start gather feedback from FET Projects and better refine training materials.

Fostering the awareness raising among FET Projects, partners organized 7 FET Open Days events in 5 different countries in Europe, gathering +1750 participants.

As recruitment campaign, partners also directly engaged 61 contacts within NCPs throughout Europe, and 45 FET Projects with publicly available contacts on their website, 88 FET Projects though the participant portal, and 171 Projects through cordis contacts.

5 capacity building programmes, 3 pitch events and 2 matchmaking events have been held, involving an overall total of 37 FET projects.
European Research projects generally perform well in:
• fostering international research collaboration
• developing new technologies
But they frequently do not fully use their potential and capacity to exploit:
• Most often great researchers love research but feel uncomfortable when having to consider or plan for exploitation
• Making dissemination / exploitation activities at the end of the project is too late

Without a proper exploitation (commercialisation/valorisation) strategy, good research may remain research work, never reaching it’s full potential and never creating impact to our society:
• Exploitation helps to accelerate scientific progress
• Exploitation of research results may help to support the economic development of the country and preserve its competitiveness
• Exploitation of research should “re-finance” future research activities.

The exploitation of research results can help:
• develop, create and market a product or process;
• create and provide a new service;
• set new standards;
• deliver new training courses;
• develop new curricula.
Appropriate exploitation leads to innovation (in different markets and societal contexts), new businesses and jobs, increased knowledge, and welfare. Exploitation thus contributes to the overall objectives of the investors European Union. At the same time, exploitation touches on the protection of intellectual property of the project partners who are the owners of newly developed knowledge. It requires careful legal treatment.

Non technological bottlenecks (knowledge of the market, financial issues, regulatory environment, etc.) prevent research results from making it to the end users. FET2RIN aim to bridge the gap between FET research results and exploitation by:
• raising awareness on exploitation possibilities; recognizing valuable and exploitable results;
providing an opportunity to clarify issues, propose solutions and actions;
• helping to set-up roadmaps for the long-term sustainability of the project results; facilitating open innovation and (re)use of project results;
• creating value out of novel knowledge (creating revenues, improving skill set of an organisation, preparing for standardization of patenting, finding optional pathways for future work