ENRIITCyourCoffee Season 1: Episode 3 – “How should RIs be organized internally to promote an innovation mentality?”

We had a fantastic discussion in the #ENRIITCyourCoffee session today hosted by Nikolaj Zangenberg, who is the Centre Manager at DTI, the Industrial Liaison Officer for CERN and XFEL, and the Purchasing Advisor for ESRF. He is also leading ENRIITC WP3 “Development and Refining of Strategies for Innovation, Training and Outreach“.

Nikolaj started the session by asking about which skills and traits ILO or ICO need to have to unlock the innovation potential of a RI. The conversation used the survey results from a similar question at the ENRIITC Network Meeting in October. Excellent communication skills and an extensive network of key contacts were flagged at the top two traits. There was consensus that not ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to RIs and traits for ILOs and ICOs. A discussion then touched upon the scope of RIs (i.e. what is being referred to can differ), and the definition of innovation (which can also mean many things).

John Picard from EMSO ERIC commented that perhaps one common trait across all ICO/ILO needs is ‘knowing what the industry needs’. Do you agree? Head over to our LinkedIn group “#ENRIITCyourNetwork” to engage in the discussion.

Nikolaj then presented some findings from the ENRIITC Network Meeting data about whether RI prioritise ICOs. Are they full-time, part-time? In summary, the discussion indicated that there seems to be considerable variation between RIs regarding their resource allocation to ICOs.

General agreement was given to the idea of developing a framework, scheme or model for how the ICO needs to operate, and showcase the success stories that follow. This way, expenditure on an industry advisory committee and ICO can be justified.

The discussion illustrated the need for a well structured dialogue between research and industry. It was suggested that you need many officers with different qualities, perhaps a central office with an ICO with different traits. Another idea was to have a hub and spoke structure that has a central co-ordination point. Something that pools across the infrastructures where we can become more visible… to share resources for common issues – communications, procurement, outreach, logistics, technical, innovation, and more.

Communication is key for a common language dialogue, and there is significant work to be done to communicate the value of the infrastructures.

Tune in next week (Tuesday 8th December at 11:00 CET) for a 30 minute coffee discussion led by Ute Gunsenheimer – Head of External Relations and EU Projects at ESS and is the project coordinator for ENRIITC.