Supporting knowledge and technology transfer in Bulgaria

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Peer review
By Platform

On 14 and 15 December 2021, the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform organised a peer review for the benefit of the Republic of Bulgaria on the topic 'Knowledge and technology transfer and use of research infrastructure by Centres of Excellence and Centres of Competence.

Content of the peer review

Under the moderation of thematic experts Marc Pattinson and Arnault Morisson, four peers from Finland, Czech Republic, Spain and the Netherlands shared with the host region their experiences and suggestions for promoting the commercialisation of research results. The five talented peers were:

  • Leena Sarvaranta, former Head of EU Affairs at VTT, Finland
  • Markus Dettenhofer, CEITEC, former Executive Director, Czech Republic
  • Alaitz Landaluze, Basque Innovation Agency “Innobasque”, Spain
  • Pieter de Jong, Wetsus European Centre of Excellence, Netherlands

Find the recommendations and key learnings in the follow-up report

The host region, supported by the Executive Agency “Programme Education” at the Ministry of Education and Science, Republic of Bulgaria, and led by Ivan Popov, Executive Director is currently reviewing how to enhance the technology screening and transfer policies aimed at boosting the commercialisation of research results notably for SMEs. The host region wanted to receive expertise, gain knowledge, and get inspiration from good practices coming from different European regions dealing with the following four policy challenges:

  • How to increase the capacity to identify technologies of interest to businesses and industry in general?
  • How to properly manage the innovations that arise as a result of project research activities?
  • What is the best and most efficient way to settle ownership of the research results and benefits of the projects between all partners, including intellectual property rights?
  • What are the most appropriate contemporary forms and models of technology transfer for the needs of the Bulgarian centres?

Building on two days of intense and very rich exchanges with the host led by the Executive Agency and supported by stakeholders from the Centres of Excellence and Competences, the four peers gave concrete and actionable suggestions on the main policy challenges.  Some examples of the recommendations include:

Finding the intersection between technologies being developed with the business demand

How: 

Map the existing research and technologies within the partners of the Centres; Assess the level of innovativeness and technology/solutions readiness/TRL; Map, catalogue and understand local/regional business domains/fields, using business intermediaries/clusters and willingness to try new solutions; Present results on Centre websites, databases etc.

Also: 

Recruit external researchers whо are more application-minded; Initiate short-term exchange of students with industry and/or bring industry representatives and industry scientists for secondments to centres.

Increase horizontal collaboration and joint foresight activities between different thematics and also policy domains

How:

Analyse the interlinkages between technology domains to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration and innovation opportunities; Engage with key EU initiatives such as the EU Industry Strategy (Industrial Forum, ERA Forum for Transition / Technology Roadmaps, Recovery and Resilience Plans) can provide interesting elements to enhance knowledge.

Increase the absorption capacity of the business sector

How: 

There are different types of technology transfer activities. From the easiest to the hardest:

  • Dissemination and training
  • Research contract
  • Licencing and patenting
  • Spin-off
Connect COC with relevant research networks, technology roadmaps and industrial value chains at EU level

How:

By ensuring adequate matching funds for participation in HEU Partnerships and engaging the Bulgarian Programme Committee Members and NCPs in Horizon Europe (Pillar 2) for mapping the opportunities.  Also, consider connecting with/participating in EARTO (peer activities in European RTOs).

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Technology
Business