72% find cooperation between public research and industrial partners ‘very difficult’, or ‘difficult’, Report from EU (DG Research)

72% find cooperation between public research and industrial partners ‘very difficult’, or ‘difficult’, Report from EU (DG Research)

Exploitation of research vital for competitiveness, says new report
The European Commission’s DG Research has published a draft report on its public consultation into transnational research and knowledge transfer.

The report is split into two parts – the first looking at attitudes to different sectors, and the second part looking at legislation. The first part began by examining the role of publicly-funded organisations (PROs) and how they fit into the research mix. The overwhelming majority of respondents believed that publicly funded research is an ‘important’ driver for EU competitiveness (195 out of 199 respondents found this ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important), and furthermore, 70 per cent thought that ‘much more’ needed to be done (and a further 27 per cent believed ‘slightly more’ should be done).

Respondents generally believed that publicly-funded research was poorly exploited by PROs because they either attached little importance to exploitation or lacked the skills to exploit research properly.

A total of 72 per cent believed that cooperation between a PRO and industrial partner was either ‘very difficult’, or ‘difficult’, even when both are in the same country. 26 per cent believed cooperation was ‘easy’, although half of those respondents were from universities. Of course, countries differ in their legislation, so it is fair to assume that individual countries do have different constraints, varying the ease of cooperation.

International cooperation seems to be more difficult still. No respondents found cooperation between a PRO and industrial partner in a different country ‘very easy’. In fact, 82 per cent found this to be either ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’. This may have implications for the Framework Programme itself, since all the research funded must be transnational.

A majority (75 per cent) of respondents believed Member States had a key role to play in persuading PROs to adopt guidelines for cooperation with industry.

Finally, for intellectual property, 85 per cent felt this was an important area, but respondents were split over whether guidelines should be created, with a majority in favour (108 in favour, 76 not).
The second part examined legislation. The submissions agreed that differences in legal frameworks hampered cooperation, despite the EU’s ‘internal market’. Moreover, people found all of the Commission’s suggested bottlenecks problematic to some degree (23 to 53 per cent), with intellectual property ownership differences and joint ownership coming top. This suggests that industry, PROs and universities would benefit from harmonised patent laws, or the much heralded ‘community patent’.

Source: Cordis news

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