Brussels, Sep 2006
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This document summarises the outcomes of the online public consultation conducted by the RESEARCH DG from 12 May to 31 July 2006 during which 199 responses were received.
The consultation results clearly show that the exploitation of publicly funded research results is deemed to be an important driver for EU competitiveness. It also highlighted a number of key issues that should be addressed if closer PRO-industry links are to be achieved:
- The alignment of interests between a PRO and a private firm within a given Member State is not always straightforward due to the different agendas and expertise which the parties have – this is particularly evident when valuing the IPR resulting from research and the distribution of any financial rewards;
- Transnational collaboration is additionally hampered by three main factors: cultural differences (including language); legal differences; and, difficulties in finding partners. Transnational collaboration which is not part of a long-term, structural alliance is therefore relatively unattractive for both the public and private sector due to the added complexities which such collaboration brings with it;
- Technology transfer officers should have some form of accreditation / qualification, though this should not be mandatory and should recognize their staffs' diverse backgrounds;
- PROs find it difficult to balance their researchers' desire for open access to research results with the need to protect them if they are to become commercially viable products.
- Although not the sole factor, the differences between existing legal frameworks has a strong disincentive effect on transnational collaboration. Furthermore, all of the legal issues identified by the Commission (see Q15) are deemed to be problematic for a significant percentage of respondents (between 23% and 53%). The main researchrelated barriers are the differences in IPR ownership regimes (53% of votes) and joint ownership (43%).
- Most respondents considered that some form of harmonized legislative action is required - 93 respondents asked for either European or National action1 whereas only 36 were against any form of action. A large proportion of the responses considered that urgent action should be taken in the field of IPR – particularly regarding the delivery of a Community Patent (reflecting the responses received in the Patent Strategy2 and Internal Market strategy3 consultations).
- Most respondents would like to see Public Authorities make additional funding for knowledge transfer activities available. Furthermore, the creation of voluntary guidelines for knowledge transfer was supported by a large percentage of respondents.
- The consultation was inconclusive regarding the question of whether a European version of the "Bayh-Dole Act" should be developed.