Call for EU to fund technology infrastructures

© SCIENCE BUSINESS | Florin Zubașcu

Europe needs technology proving grounds where industry can test and scale up new products. Christian Ehler MEP says this will lower the cost of bringing innovation to market and help Europe reach its green energy goals.

The EU should have a strategy for technology infrastructures in place by the time it launches the next research and innovation framework programme, says Horizon Europe co-rapporteur Christian Ehler MEP.

The ESFRI roadmap enables scientists from around Europe to choose the best labs for their experiments.

A similar roadmap is needed for technology infrastructures, providing information on facilities, equipment, capabilities and support services where industrial players can find support to commercialise new products, processes and services, in full compliance with EU regulations.

Read more here.

ENRIITC proposes the formation of a centralized hub to support innovation from Research Infrastructures

Innovation is created from the interaction and collaboration between science and business. Companies need support and simpler access to the opportunities for collaborations with Research Infrastructures (RIs). The ENRIITC project has built a pan-European network of national Industrial Liaison Officers and Industrial Contact Officers at Research Infrastructures (ILOs and ICOs). The establishment of a formal network will enable industry to become a full partner of RIs whether as a user, supplier, or co-creator.

ENRIITC supports the establishment of strategic, cross-border partnerships between industry and research infrastructures. A key instrumental milestone would be the establishment of a formal and sustainable hub supporting the new pan-European ICO and ILO network.

The core activity of the hub is to provide training activities, a repository of information and best practices, support for ICOs/ILOs. The hub should also host an interaction platform for ILOs and ICOs to discuss and optimize their engagement with industry and facilitate the flow of requests from companies. The knowledge from ENRIITC and other relevant projects will be hosted in the repository accessible to ILOs and ICOs and the content will continuously be improved and matured based on the experiences of the network participants.

The consolidation of a pan-European ICO and ILO network relies on the formation of the central “Innovation and Industry Services Central Support Hub”. This will be the centre of a hub-and-spoke network to support ICOs and ILOs in building fruitful relationships and exploiting the RIs innovation potential.

Here below a list of the missions that the proposed pan-European “Innovation and Industry Services Central Support Hub” will have.

  1. Define and update the training path and opportunities for ICOs and ILOs;
  2. Offer an exchange platform for collaboration between ILOs/ILOs on innovation;
  3. Coordinate the support offer provided to ICOs and ILOs;
  4. Offering a regular source of RI innovation success stories to complement those on RI scientific achievements, and operate an identity for ILOs and ICOs towards other European entities;
  5. Coordinate a network level approach with other pan-European entities, such as:
  • EIT, for building new partnerships with industry and aligning the policy with the needs of industry;
  • EIROFORUM, for coordinating industry aspects of Big Science facilities;
  • BSBF International Organising Committee, for collaboration and communication about the Big Science Business Forum event;
  • EOSC DIH, for being aligned with the actions taken to facilitate industry in finding useful services at EOSC level.

Key stakeholders in the hub

Industry Contact Officers (ICO) are research infrastructure staff in charge of developing business relations with all potential industrial suppliers of innovative components or services as well as encouraging the economical use of their facility by private players.

Industry Liaison Officers (ILO) are generally officially appointed by the Member States and Associated Countries to stimulate the collaboration among the national industry and the international research infrastructures, providing advice on business opportunities, R&D collaborations, calls for tenders and industrial services.

PERIIA (www.periia.eu) is the informal association of individuals that are nationally appointed Industrial Liaison Officer (ILO) or Purchasing Advisor (PA) to any of the European Big Science Organisations, such as ESO, ESS, ESA, F4E/ITER, CERN, ESRF, XFEL, EMBL, and ILL. The PERIIA board (7 persons) is elected at a General Assembly typically convened during the Big Science Business Forum or the ITER Business Forum. The PERIIA board is proposed as the governing body for the industrial supplier aspects of the hub.

RI board is a new governance structure that should represent the group of ESFRI RIs, non-ESFRI transnational RIs and national RIs that are connected to the hub. The detailed role, members and governance model of the board should be defined in a dialogue with the RIs. The board is proposed as the governing body for the industrial user aspects of the hub.

Read more about ENRIITC Deliverable 3.1 here.

 

ENRIITC proposes a new “Research Infrastructures Innovation Preparedness Roadmap” to exploit the innovation potential of RIs

Early in the project, ENRIITC evaluated the status of play in the relationships between European Research Infrastructures (RIs) and industry which was published in “Report on the mapping of industry as a supplier and user” (D2.1).

The analysis highlighted areas for potential improvement since only half of the interviewed RIs employed an Industry Contact Officer (ICO), and only 60 per cent of them had a strategy for working with the industry.

However, it also emerged that RIs and Industry are ready to work together, and in the majority of cases, they strongly need an injection of support to kick off new sustainable and long-lasting relationships.

To respond to the actual gaps in the collaboration system between RIs and the industry, ENRIITC has now proposed five key initiatives shown in the Figure. The initiatives are presented in “Strategy to exploit the innovation potential of RIs” (D3.1):

  1. Establish a pan-European ICO and ILO network: The core activity of the hub is to provide advice and support to all manner of RIs in their engagement with the industry, drawing upon existing experience and good practice and building its body of knowledge as the hub matures. (See also this article)
  2. Adopt a set of core competencies for ICOs and ILOs: ENRIITC has defined a clear set of competencies and the advantages of having an Industry Contact Office in each RI. (See also D3.3)
  3. Each RI should review and implement specific key actions: 17 key areas with recommended actions are defined to help an RI improve the collaboration with industry and establish a common baseline for RIs for developing systematic innovation partnering industry-liaison programs. (See also D3.2)
  4. Building strategic alliance relationships. Establishing partnerships at the European level to ensure that the RI operational model and interaction modes with industry are understood and recognised so that RIs can seek more easily individual collaboration partners.
  5. Develop a European RI Innovation Strategy: Formulation of a European RI Innovation Strategy to describe the ambitions for better integration between RIs and industry. The strategy will enable RIs to be the core engine of the innovation supply chain facilitating the constituency of spin-offs, start-ups and partnerships with private entities in close cooperation with universities.

With this package of proposed actions, ENRIITC is pushing for realizing the strong socio-economic impact of RIs which was stated as a key ingredient in the concluding remarks of the ESFRI Roadmap 2021.

If you want to download the ENRIITC reports, click here

 

ENRIITC & CERIC event at BSBF

Increasing Research Infrastructures’ visibility and potential towards Industry

In the frame of BSBF 2022 – Big Science Business Forum, ENRIITC is organising an event on 04th October 2022. As part of this event, ENRIITC in collaboration with CERIC-ERIC, will be organizing training sessions focused on ‘Increasing Research Infrastructures’ visibility and potential towards Industry’.

It will bring together Industrial Liaison and Contact Officers (ILOs/ICOs) of European Research Infrastructures and Industry representatives to exchange experiences, best practices and knowledge on the topic. The event will be also a networking opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between the two parties.

The day will be split into 3 main phases:

  • Training and Workshop for ICOs and ILOs;
  • The ENRIITC Networking Conference;
  • ILOs and ICOS training to strengthen the collaboration of the networks.

 

About CERIC-ERIC:

CERIC, the Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium, is an innovation ecosystem offering high-level instruments and expertise for structural, molecular and atomic investigations on materials, biomaterials and nanomaterials, to meet critical safety and performance requirements and assess their capabilities and limitations, even in extreme conditions. More in CERIC website.

ENRIITC makes recommendations for Research Infrastructures on how to improve industry engagement

While scientific excellence is the key justification and raison d’être for a Research Infrastructure, any RI under development will have to ask the question: “How do we engage with industry?”

Actually, both companies and the RIs themselves can potentially benefit from the interaction. And adopting a strategic and selectively focused effort would be beneficial for all RIs. During the last 2 years, ENRIITC has engaged the community of RIs and other stakeholders in order to map out and explore best practices and discuss different strategies. The resulting recommendations are published in the Deliverables:

The potential for industry engagement cover both possibilities within industrial supplies to RIs, industrial usage of the RIs facilities and knowledge, co-development, innovation activities, joint advocacy, and more.

The report underlines the importance of having “multipliers”: ILOs acting as intermediaries between national companies and RIs are important especially for the RI to reach out to supplier industry and for co-development. Inside the RIs, the function of ICO is a key role in many of the proposed strategic recommendations.

We arrive at 17 recommendations shown in the Figure and organised into four themes which cover both the internal organisation and priorities within the RI, and strategies and tools for engaging with companies and ecosystems surrounding the RI:

  1. Develop a strategy for innovation with industry: measures concerning the RI internal structure and prioritisation of resources;
  2. Engaging the innovation ecosystem: important points regarding the interaction with stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem surrounding the RI;
  3. Industry collaboration models: options and perspectives on how to set up collaboration;
  4. Funding structures for increased industry collaboration: strategies for pursuing supplementary funding for innovation activities in collaboration with companies.

While there is no “one-size fits all” strategy for the RI engagement with industry, the proposed strategic actions should be evaluated critically by the owners and management of the RI with respect to what is strategically relevant in the specific context of the particular RI.

 

Training Strategy for Innovation Brokers

Opening new markets for the industry is a challenge for innovation support systems and requires specific skills and knowledge. Effective structure of international trainings for innovation brokers should be built to ensure a flow of innovation from research infrastructures to industry.

Companies need support in contacting the science sector and the potential of European research infrastructures should be better exploited by the industry: it’s necessary to build a training system for Industry Liaison Officers (ILOs) and Industry Contact Officers (ICOs) in order to provide them with high-quality training and knowledge. Receiving support from both a national and international level would open an opportunity to smooth the flow of information between business and science, therefore increasing European companies’ innovation potential.

ENRIITC supports the establishment of strategic, cross-border partnerships between industry and research infrastructures and, under the project, the following were put in place:

  1. An analysis of the current status of training opportunities and requirements for improved training, with primary information compiled from the ILO/ICO network;
  2. The designing of a catalogue of hard and soft skills to be developed;
  3. Recommendations provided for developing a pan-European network of innovation brokers.

The role of the pan-European network of innovation brokers is to:

  • Build relationships between people;
  • Exchange knowledge between RIs and the industry;
  • Organise webinars, industry events and B2B meetings with RIs and the industry;
  • Build international consortia with companies from different European countries;
  • Engage small and medium size enterprises in the Big Science projects.

TRAINING FOR ILOs AND ICOs ACCORDING TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE:

The most important training courses for ILOs are the following (ranked by level of importance):

  1. Procurement and tenders
  2. Promotion of tenders and technologies from the RI
  3. Organisation of brokerage events
  4. Communication (not specific for promotion of tenders and technologies)
  5. Obtaining funding
  6. Aspects of intellectual property rights
  7. Creation of an offer for industry

The most requested training courses for ICOs are the following (ranked by level of importance):

  1. Obtaining funding
  2. Selected aspects of international collaboration
  3. Aspects of intellectual property rights
  4. Developing soft skills – negotiations, presentation of the offer

Both groups indicated that they would like to receive training in the area of technology transfer.

You can learn more and check the ENRITC Deliverable 3.3 here.

CLARIN ERIC is looking for a Head of Operations!

Our Associate CLARIN ERIC is looking for a ‘Head of Operations’  who will work closely with the CLARIN Board of Directors and the staff at the central CLARIN Office.

The main tasks for which the Head of Operations will be responsible are: overseeing the implementation of strategic decisions taken by the Board of Directors in close coordination with the Executive Director and coordinating the central CLARIN Office workflows and their alignment with the CLARIN network and the wider infrastructural ecosystem.

The Head of Operations will be based at the CLARIN Office in Utrecht (The Netherlands). Some travelling throughout Europe will also be part of the work.  Application open until 1st June 2022!

Learn more here.

How to scale-up the societal impact of Research Infrastructures by integrating with innovation ecosystems.

It is important for a Research Infrastructure to recognize other stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem surrounding them and understand which role to embrace.

This was one of the main messages from the strategic work represented in the ENRIITC deliverable 3.2 and shown in the second column in the Figure below.

In several cases, research infrastructures – in particular large-scale facilities – are found as core elements of research and innovation campuses. These campuses may integrate the RIs together with universities, RTOs and industry, both large enterprises and small start-up / incubation environments.

Examples of these campuses include the Grenoble Innovation Campus “GIANT” (including the international facilities European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and Institute Laue-Langevin) and the Harwell campus near to Oxford (including the national facilities Diamond Light Source and ISIS).

The potential local or regional collaborators may belong to different categories that are listed below:

  • INDUSTRY CLUSTERS AND ASSOCIATIONS

Most companies are part of local network or organisation of companies who often act as intermediaries in the contact with companies, especially for SMEs. Engagement with industry clusters may be mutually beneficial since the RI can offer new solutions for their members, while the clusters can help tune the offer to better match the needs of their members.

  • RTO AND TECHNOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURES

Europe has a wide web of ca. 350 Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs) that operate in the space between the academic world and companies. These include, e.g., Fraunhofer (DE), TNO (NL) and VTT (FIN). A company with a need for an analysis, measurement or knowledge will often start by consulting a local RTO. For this reason, the RTOs may represent an interesting multiplier function where an RI can, in fact, access several companies via the RTO either by referral or by the RTO using the RI to offer services to companies.

  • UNIVERSITIES

Most RIs have a strong relation with researchers at universities using the RI for their scientific investigations. This relation can be used to strengthen the RI-industry collaboration. The RI can engage the researchers to establish who is working with companies and use the relation to gain insight into the industrial value and depth of the collaboration. Universities also play an important role in the training of students to prepare them for a job in industry.

  • ILOs AS NATIONAL NODES/MULTIPLIER

Industrial Liaison Officers (ILOs) are appointed to represent the companies in a member country’s that supply components and services to an RI. This system intrinsically gives the RI a potential for a quite unique outreach channel to industry in all the member countries which could solve the challenge that many of the companies with which an RI is interacting, are local or in the same country as the central hub of the RI. ENRIITC recommends that each member state consider the potential benefits of an extended mandate of the ILOs to include industrial suppliers, co-development, technology transfer and even industrial usage of the RI.

 

You can learn more and check the ENRITC Deliverable 3.2 here.

Institut Pasteur: 2 project managers wanted to work in EU funded projects in Paris!

The Institut Pasteur is a private, non-profit foundation. Its mission is to help prevent and treat diseases, mainly those of infectious origin, through research, teaching, and public health initiatives.

The Institut Pasteur develops many major international projects in partnership with the main international scientific authorities such as the World Health Organization, and many research institutions, foundations, universities and other private actors worldwide.

Currently, the Institut grants office is recruiting 2 project managers to work in 2 EU funded projects in Paris! More details can be found here below:

  • Manager European project – R2D2-MH

Job posting description: Recrutement_GrantsOffice_InstitutPasteur_R2D2

Contact person: Nazaré  GUIMARDnazare.guimard@pasteur.fr

  • Manager European project – PvSTATEM

Job posting description: Recrutement_GrantsOffice_InstitutPasteur_PvSTATEM

Contact person: Soizic  SERGEANT, soizic.sergeant@pasteur.fr

 

How basic and big science may be a seed for future needs

 

The Conference on Industrial Technologies IndTech 2022 will take place in Grenoble (France) from 27-29 June 2022.

IndTech 2022 is organised under the auspices of the French presidency of the European Union and with the support of the European Commission. The conference provides a forum for exchange between industry, research and policy makers with the objective of forging a common vision for Europe moving forward in the context of transitional challenges.

This event couldn’t be a better opportunity for ENRIITC! The Research Infrastructure Conference aims to promote the capacity of RIs to create breakthrough innovations, have economic impact and support societal challenges.

During the afternoon of Monday, 27 June, ENRIITC, in association with IndTech, will bring together RI representatives, industry and stakeholders from the innovation ecosystem to exchange on the topic of basic and big science as a seed for future needs.

Registration open here!

 

THE PROGRAMME

Section 1: Industrial case studies

Individual presentations of concrete examples of technologies being
developed for or together with Research Infrastructures.

Section 2: The Big Science Innovation Studio

Round table to discuss the concept of an itinerant studio supporting
the acceleration of basic and big science to market application.