New EU guiding principles to boost the R&I ecosystem and knowledge valorisation
In December 2022, the Council of the European Union adopted Recommendation 2022/2415 on the guiding principles for knowledge valorisation (the Recommendation) with the aim to create more socioeconomic benefits from research and innovation (R&I) for society.
The adoption of the Recommendation is an important milestone for the new European Research Era (ERA). Developing these new guiding principles was already proposed in the 2020 Commission Communication on a new ERA for R&I and was included in the ERA Policy Agenda for 2022-2024.
The Recommendation replaces the 2008 Commission Recommendation on the management of IP in knowledge transfer activities and Code of Practice for universities and other public research organisations (the 2008 Recommendation).
The adoption of the new Recommendation is welcome as it responds to certain challenges the EU is currently facing. The main aim of the new guiding principles is exactly to adopt a common line on measures and policy initiatives for improving knowledge valorisation in the EU by:
- broadening the scope of actors and activities compared to the 2008 Recommendation;
- implying a focus on the whole R&I ecosystem and its connections, on co-creation between actors and on the creation of societal value;
- widening their scope to include intellectual asset management and emphasise the importance of developing entrepreneurial culture, practices and skills; and
- emphasising new needs for increasing the impact of R&I, such as addressing new and persistent policy challenges, enhancing citizen engagement and sharing of best practices among various R&I actors.
The new Recommendation also introduces key definitions of the main concepts. For example, “knowledge valorisation” should be defined according to the new Recommendation as being “the process of creating social and economic value from knowledge by linking different areas and sectors and by transforming data, knowhow and research results into sustainable products, services, solutions and knowledge-based policies that benefit society.”
The EU Commission is convinced that knowledge valorisation will bring in new aspects that will maximise the value of existing and future R&I and of knowledge assets. When such knowledge is more effectively transferred among individuals, this will lead to benefits. It confirms that R&I is a system where many different entities can interact in different ways by referring to the fact that knowledge valorisation will affect R&I funding and add value to science and research and their results.
According to the EU Commission, the significance of knowledge valorisation lays in particular in “the use, re-use and cross-fertilisation of knowledge among different sectors, and this for the benefit of society.” Hence, creating knowledge is necessary for innovation, but it is not sufficient. According to the Council, R&I investments in research for the creation of new knowledge should be maximised, enabling all types of innovation that eventually can be valorised.
The 24 new guiding principles for knowledge valorisation are listed around seven pillars:
- knowledge valorisation in R&I policy
- skills and capacities
- system of incentives
- intellectual asset management
- relevance in public funding schemes
- peer learning
- metrics, monitoring and evaluation.
As the guiding principles are non-binding by nature, their application and implementation, and thus their eventual success, will rely on the mobilisation and engagement of all stakeholders (ie all categories of the ecosystem actors involved in R&I activities) and their active participation in valorisation activities.
It is yet to be seen (i) whether and how these principles will be implemented at national, regional and local level and (ii) whether and how these guiding principles will eventually better support the development of innovation ecosystems.
As always, our team closely monitors the implementation and implications of the new Recommendation.