Sunday, 1 November 2009

EU - innovation policy priorities and principles - open data, IP market etc

The European Commission's DG for Enterprise and Industry set up a business panel on future European innovation policy to provide input from a business perspective on priorities for future EU innovation policy (see list of members).

From 7 July to 31 August 2009 the panel held an online debate through their Innovation Unlimited site (which will continue) and their final report, which will be "a major input to the proposed new European Innovation Act, is "Reinventing Europe through innovation".

The report recommends 5 innovation policy principles, and measures such as:

  • opening up public data,
  • universal high speed broadband / smart grid access,
  • the Caisse des dépôts intellectual property market (see below), and
  • encouraging collaborative networks e.g. via technology and Web 2.0.

From the report the 5 principles are (emphasis added) -

"1. Broaden the concept of innovation ["From business to social innovation"]: Business innovate mainly for return on investment, society must innovate for social return and transformation. Europe faces unprecedented challenges. This calls for collaborative, cross cutting responses reaching out to business, public policy communities, researchers, educators, public service providers, financiers and NGOs. We propose to base EU action around compelling social challenges; to finance social innovation funds; to incentivise large scale community level innovations; to transform the public sector with a budgetary innovation target; and to engage the young and the old in new types of partnerships.

2. Speed and synchronization ["From fragmented bureaucracies to flexible partnerships, from better regulation to pro-innovation regulation"]: Speed and scale are everything in innovation. More is needed to speed up the uptake of innovative solutions and technologies, especially in the public sector. Funding programmes and innovation support must be synchronised with development of standards, public procurement and regulations. We propose that the EU sets clear innovation targets; launches ambitious European initiatives with synchronised actions around major challenges; ensures EU directives and regulations support innovation; changes public procurement to support innovation; and opens up government owned data to facilitate a knowledge infrastructure, where European citizens can help transform public services.

3. Invest in future infrastructure and unlock its potential ["From bridges to broadband, from control to open access"]: Europe needs to create and unlock the potential of new digital and energy infrastructure. Every household, business and public building should have ultrafast broadband and smart energy grid connections. We propose that the EU commits to universal access to ultrafast broadband and smart grids; implements an integrated, cross-border investment strategy; and combines infrastructure projects with support for innovative services and open access.

4. Innovative financing models ["From incumbents to new entrants, from public vs private to public private partnerships"]: Europe needs a radical new approach to financing innovation with new partnerships to share risk and more intelligent ways to combine funding between instruments. Innovation should be core to financial institutions, with the European Investment Bank (EIB) becoming a European Innovation Bank. We propose a major development of the European Investment Fund (EIF) to create a pan- European Innovation Fund; develop an EU wide market for trading and sharing Intellectual Property; and broker bolder investment readiness initiatives.

  • In this regard the panel "fully support the proposal for the Caisse des
    dépôts... This should be accompanied by bolder investor readiness initiatives that enable creative businesses to reduce their risk profiles to investors and accelerate deal flow… An EU market for Intellectual Property… Caisse des dépôts (CDC) is a state-owned holding company that makes long-term investments in pursuit of public policy objectives and in order to foster economic development…"
  • "An investment Fund for intellectual property rights, dedicated mainly towards public research patents in the first instance. The design of this Fund is predicated on the assumption that by gathering a large number of patents, it will be possible to establish clusters of patents which are increasingly necessary for large companies as well as SMEs to develop innovative products and services. It is expected that this model must demonstrate
    after a few years in operation that it is economically viable and consequently allow the largest transfer of research and inventions in a sustainable manner. It is intended that the Fund will buy patent licences from public universities and research centres, organize patent clusters, and license on a non-exclusive basis these patent clusters to the maximum possible number of industrial users. Royalties/revenues coming from these licences would then be shared between public research and the Fund, with the intention of using proceeds to broaden the Fund’s scope in order to expand the necessary critical mass. CDC decided in June 2009 to launch the first phase of this project with the creation of a pilot company which will begin testing the operation with volunteer universities and research centres…"

5. New places for new types of collaborations ["From closed processes to the
power of networks"]
. Innovation feeds on collaboration, the spark and confrontation of different ideas, perspectives and experiences. Information technologies and web 2.0 tools are transforming how people interact. Open innovation is based on the power of networks and access to knowledge across Europe and globally. We propose to create and network innovation labs; invest in cultural and creative institutions, organisations and networks; reinforce the role of brokers and intermediaries; develop a major prize for innovative localities; and stimulate universities and public research centres to be more open and international."

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