Science2Society – Technology transfer via open innovation mechanisms

Laszlo Bax
Bax & Company

Amy McCready
Bax & Company

LinkedIn profile

Bert Pluymers
KU Leuven

Mona Roman
Aalto University

Science2Society is a three-year European project. Over the three years, it will engage directly with some 50 universities and research organisations, 30 industries and 100 small businesses. The 18 participating organisations are based in seven European countries: Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

The overall mission of Science2Society is to understand and improve the efficiency of the European innovation system and the ways it creates new businesses, turns technology into products and services, attracts financing and generally creates value from academic research.

The study focuses on seven key mechanisms, designed and implements to encourage innovation by juxtaposing science and technology with business and industry. These mechanisms are co-, co-location, collaborative R&D&I, intersectoral staff mobility, big data transfer, university knowledge transfer, and open innovation marketplace.

The project will disseminate its results; along with an extensive online database of tools, case studies and best practices; throughout Europe, aiming to successfully replicate the best university / industry / society collaboration programmes to a large number of stakeholders. European researchers are using collaboration to positively shape the European research agenda.

Each of the seven innovation mechanisms has been accompanied by a pilot study, testing the efficacy of the mechanisms, gathering and analysing both quantitative and qualitative data.

The first pilot (Co-creation, Product development with future users in a Virtual Idea Laboratory (ProVIL)) is a product development project, with circa 50 students from mechanical engineering and 10 students from industrial engineering held at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The students developed product concepts in the field of mobility answering a task assignment from an automotive OEM (CRF). ProVIL consists of four phases starting with initial research phase followed by the creating of product profiles and product ideas and ending with the creation of product concepts. The hub for the open innovation process is an innovation platform allowing to systematically perform co-creation in an virtual environment between the students and the automotive OEM.

In the second pilot (Co-Location) the consortium will identify the main advantages and bottlenecks of establishing a research collaboration between a multinational company with distributed R&D labs/teams, RTOs and one or more universities. Both industrial / RTOs teams and academic teams may or may not be collocated, but they will al be working on the same research project. CA labs will explore the possibility to create an R&D competence center by the UPC in the mid/long term.

For the third pilot, Collaborative R&D&I projects of universities, RTOs, industries, SMEs, and public sector, S2S will develop best practices how cross-organizational research teams should interact when jointly developing novel technologies and exploiting them. The focus of the pilot will be set on how to initiate, facilitate and reward cross-organizational research teams for sharing ideas, information, and knowledge to increase synergy (reconcile individual motivations in one common goal), quality and speed of interaction (foster personal commitment & mutual trust).

The fourth pilot focusses on the implementation of intersectoral staff mobility between universities, RTOs and (large and small) companies as an enabler for open science & innovation. Various staff mobility stimuli funding programmes do exist already today. S2S will investigate how current and potential future beneficiaries of such programmes (want to) deploy intersectoral staff mobility in the context of open innovation or what are the bottlenecks for not yet doing so. Guidelines and best practices will be drafted for the beneficiaries and policy briefing information for the agencies and governments for further improving and growing the scheme.
In the fifth pilot existing research Big data transfer concepts will be scrutinised. A survey of opportunities, requirements, and bottlenecks for research data provision in different sectors will be conducted. The main outcomes are guidelines and best practices for motivating the researchers to share their research data as well as motivating the industry and society to take advantage and exploit open and available research data.

During the sixth pilot the consortium will explore and try to improve the 1 to 1 knowledge transfer from academia to SMEs. For this it will map the current, typical knowledge transfer process, identify the steps and tasks that appear the most problematic, explore possible solutions and summarise the outputs, create guidelines on how to streamline University-SME knowledge transfer.

The seventh pilot will focuss on the development and implementation of an Online Open Innovation marketplace for technology transfer to support University’s Technology Transfer Offices’ technology commercialization activitity. Since H. Chesbrough coined the term Open Innovation back in 2003, the Internet Industry growth has boosted the development of “The Sharing Economy” (e.g. Uber, Wase, Airbnb, Upwork). Within this context, many companies are using the Internet as a strategic way to find new technology, innovate faster, engage with new external technology partners more efficiently as well as better position their brands as a “Partner of Choice”. Learning from the Industry best practices and based on existing SoA Open Innovation platform InnogetCloud, this pilot will challenge Universities to create processes and implement tools to foster Technology Transfer from a technology push approach by creating a research base community that can be directly linked to external market oriented stakeholders (Industry, RTOs, VC, Startups, and SMEs).

The project brings together both practitioners and, as method and system experts, universities, industries, research and technology organizations and SMEs. The project is endorsed by large (EU-level) networks of peers and ecosystem.

The consortium – covering the full value chain

• Universities: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), coordinator of the project, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Institut für Produktentwicklung (KIT-IPEK), UPC Technology Centre (CIT UPC), IfM Education and Consultancy Services Ltd, University of Cambridge (IFM-ECS), Aalto University (AALTO) and the Technische Universität Darmstadt (TUD).
• Industrial partners: Centro Ricerche FIAT ScpA (CRF), Siemens Industry Software NV (SISW), Atos Spain S.A. (ATOS) and CA Technologies Development Spain, S.A.U. (CA).
• SMEs: i2m Unternehmensentwicklung GmbH (i2m), Bax & Willems S.L. (B&W), Spirit Design – Innovation and Brand GmbH (SD), Innovawin 2006 S.L. (INNOGET) and CogniStreamer (COG).
• RTOs (Research and Technology Organizations): Virtual Vehicle Research Center (ViF), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (LBF) and the Joint Institute for Innovation Policy (JIIP).