European IP Helpdesk

Bulletin No. 1 Licensing


Written by Smiljka Vikić-Topić, School of Medicine of the University of Zagreb

With knowledge and technology transfer (including licensing) playing a vital role in maximising the impact of EU-funded research, it comes as no surprise that activities in this field are also considered very important for the closing of the research and innovation divide in Europe. Aiming to bridge this gap, the European Commission supports a number of initiatives addressing different sectors and thematic areas to help less performing EU member states and regions build capacities in various aspects related to research and research management, especially in improving the sustainable exploitation of research results.

One of these initiatives is the Horizon2020 project “Alliance4Life” that brings together ten leading life

science institutions from nine less performing EU countries seeking to close the performance gap between EU-15 and EU-13 member states in European health research and innovation. In order to reach this goal, the project aims at improving governance and managerial practices with a strong focus on changing the institutional culture in the affected countries.

The consortium members are organised in seven domains of expertise/Focus Groups, which were identified as the key knowledge areas to be improved: 1) Science Evaluation; 2) Research Ethics & Integrity; 3) Human Resources & Mobility; 4) Grants and Research Funding; 5) Core Facilities and Big Data; 6) Knowledge and Technology Transfer; 7) Science Communication. They consist of members of the partner institutions as well as invited external experts from high-performing research institutions. The Focus Groups meet regularly

to discuss issues, share best practice, suggest recommendations, strategies and actions, and develop training modules and evaluation methods. The concept of the Focus Groups provides a stimulating environment by gathering the different expertise of the various partners.

Towards an innovation culture

In transition countries, the culture of exploitation and transferring knowledge and technology from public research organisations to the private sector is a fairly new concept, which is not yet fully explored. To unlock the potential of its researchers, the Focus Group “Knowledge and Technology Transfer” aims to define

Figure 1 a)

Figure 1 b)

Figure 1a) shows Alliance4Life countries and Figure 1b) shows the EU countries’ innovation performance according to the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) in 2018:

Figure 2, share of innovation performance in EU countries in relation to the total EU performance in 2010 (Source: European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) in 2018).

Figure 2

Alliance4Life: Closing the Health Research and Innovation Divide in the European Union