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Setting the framework for the enhanced impact of SPIRE projects

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SPRING (Setting the framework for the enhanced impact of SPIRE projects)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2019-08-31

Increasing industrial uptake of project findings is at the heart of project SPRING. It is the essential building block for ensuring greater impact of SPIRE projects and therefore progress towards the SPIRE roadmap goals of increased resource and energy efficiency in the EU process industries. Instead of focusing on a small cluster of projects, SPRING was been developed to provide the mechanism to enhance the impact of all SPIRE projects.

Project SPRING's objective was to increase progress towards the SPIRE goals and enhance return on investment in projects by addressing the needs of those who make the decisions to adopt process innovations in industry and barriers to their adoption.

SPRING concluded in September 2019, leaving a legacy of guidance for project participants, decision makers in industry and broader SPIRE stakeholders, enabling them collectively to:
1. Improve the articulation of the value of project exploitable outputs
2. Improve the articulation of industry needs and barriers-to-uptake of exploitable outputs
3. Improve the mapping of project value to industry needs
4. Identify policy gaps and recommendations to improve project impact
Project SPRING was structured to Research (WP2), Test (WP3) and Develop Guidance and other Outputs (WP4) in collaboration with Stakeholders (WP5) on several topics associated with why SPIRE Projects innovations may not be reaching their maximum potential uptake into industry.

Work performed on the development of key results include:
- SPIRE Progress Monitoring Questionnaires – Every year, SPIRE projects and industry partners are asked to complete questionnaires to reflect the expected impact of projects towards the SPIRE Roadmap Goals. SPRING gathered feedback from project coordinators and partners on issues relating to filling out the questionnaires through interviews and workshops. This feedback was combined with research on survey design literature, impact assessment and sustainability evaluation to make improvement recommendations to the questionnaires, many of which were implemented in 2018 and 2019 versions. Research and recommendations from this work have been published in an Open Access peer reviewed journal, “Sustainability”.

- Project outputs have been reviewed across the SPIRE portfolio, alongside research and stakeholder workshops covering approaches to structuring information. As a result, a new framework has been developed, tested and implemented on the portal to allow projects to be able to publish ‘Project Output Summaries’. This new framework enables stakeholders to find and exploit valuable information and technologies from SPIRE projects more easily. Learning from the framework development has also been fed into the development of the Horizon Results Platform, which launched a pilot in September 2019 to capture results from across H2020.

- Guidance for SPIRE projects to understand and develop Project Output Summaries has been produced, both in an animated introductory format and more detailed step-by-step instructions. These resources are available on the SPIRE website and have been publicised through SPIRE newsletters and social media channels. Case study projects in the SPRING project (DREAM, EPOS, SHAREBOX, ProPAT, IBD, STYLE) have also prepared example Project Output Summaries as part of the testing of the framework.

- Best practice approaches to Decision-Making for evaluating project outputs have been reviewed with findings used to develop a methodology for making robust and transparent decisions when evaluating process improvements. An interactive example has also been prepared, which is designed to be used in a workshop setting, taking groups through options for improving the heating technology in a process site building. These resources have been used to run a workshop at ACHEMA (in conjunction with the INSPIRE project) and as part of University of Leeds undergraduate teaching.

- Technology Scanning and Thematic Workshop structures have been reviewed. Learning from this has been incorporated into collaborative workshops (e.g. World Resources Forum ’19 – Industrial Symbiosis projects workshop collaboration), case study testing and guidance for other SPIRE projects.

- Several resources have been prepared to help potential and existing SPIRE projects, including Guidance for SPIRE Project Proposals, a presentation for new project kick-off meetings and “SPIRE Guidance Summary Sheets” for key topics (e.g. Technology Scanning, Education and Training, Network Groups, Integrating Sustainability).

- Network groups have been established on LinkedIn for SPIRE Project Coordinators and Sustainability Practitioners. An SME network has been established through the ‘CrowdHelix’ platform. These groups enable enhanced collaboration and learning between current and future projects.

- SPRING partners have collated learning from the data input requirements of several platforms (e.g. Innovation Radar, SPIRE annual PMR questionnaire) into a template for Exploitation Planning in SPIRE projects. Additional questions have also been included to encourage projects to report auditable actions and measures following project completion towards exploitation. The framework is available on the SPIRE site to all projects.

- Recommendations for the European Commission on how to help enhance the impact of SPIRE projects have been made by SPRING through several routes, including D4.10-Gaps and Recommendations Report, contributions to H2020 workshops and through guidance targeted at SPIRE Project Officers.
As a Coordination and Support Action, SPRING was not designed to develop innovative new approaches to enhancing impact, but set out to collate and implement best practice approaches to enhance SPIRE projects’ impacts that are themselves developing technologies beyond state-of-the-art.

SPRING will speed up industrial exploitation through the guidance documents and templates developed for SPIRE project participants, which together with an improved framework for capturing and communicating Project Outputs on the web portal, will enable decision makers from industry to more quickly and clearly identify outputs of potential benefit. This framework will also enable project output material suitable for education and training to be structured and searchable for academia, industry and training providers. The guidelines developed in SPRING will support SPIRE project participants in developing education, training and other material related to exploitation and impact in flexible, adaptable formats.

SPRING has facilitated the development of new alliances and networks through the establishment of new SPIRE-level Network Groups and through thematic workshops, which bring together projects from different funding calls but with common themes.

SPRING brought added value to projects through the development and publication of best practice guidance, providing mechanisms for exploiting synergies between projects and simplifying some of the systems for managing and monitoring impact (e.g. annual questionnaire improvements and exploitation template). Cross-project awareness will be increased through the web portal improvements, making it easier for participants to find outputs of interest from across the SPIRE portfolio.

Collectively, these activities are helping ensure greater value for taxpayers’ funding of innovation projects in the SPIRE programme.