The 2018 European Innovation Scoreboard was released on 22 June.  It provides a comparative analysis of innovation performance in EU countries, other European countries, and regional neighbours. It assesses relative strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems and helps countries identify areas they need to address.

The 2018 edition of the Scoreboard highlights that the EU’s innovation performance continues to improve, that progress is accelerating, and that the outlook is positive. Since 2010, the EU’s average innovation performance has increased by 5.8 percentage points, and it is expected to improve by an additional 6 percentage points over the next 2 years.

The EU continues to improve its position relative to the United States, Japan, and Canada. However, China is catching up at three times the EU’s innovation performance growth rate. Within the EU, innovation performance increased in 18 countries and decreased in 10 countries since 2010. Sweden remains the EU innovation leader, followed by Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, the UK, and Luxembourg. Lithuania, the Netherlands, Malta, the UK, Latvia, and France are the fastest growing innovators.

Country profiles can be downloaded at http://ec.europa.eu/growth/industry/innovation/facts-figures/scoreboards_en


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At an award ceremony in Brussels on 21 June, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and MEP Eva Kaili announced the four winners of the 2018 EU Prize for Women Innovators, funded under Horizon 2020. The 2018 winners are:

  • 1st Prize (€100,000): Ms Gabriella Colucci (Italy), founder of Arterra Bioscience, a research-based biotech company focused on the discovery and production of active compounds for industrial applications, in particular cosmetics and agriculture.
  • 2nd Prize (€50,000): Ms Alicia Asin Perez (Spain), co-founder and CEO of Libelium, a company in the hardware solutions market for the Internet of Things.
  • 3rd Prize (€30,000): Ms Walburga Fröhlich (Austria), founder and CEO of atempo, a social business company that invented services and products that allow people with learning disabilities to enter the workforce as paid employees.
  • Rising Innovator (€20,000): Ms Karen Dolva (Norway), co-founder of No Isolation, a company with the single purpose of creating tailored communications devices for groups that are socially isolated.

In his award speech, Carlos Moedas commented: “The four winners are truly inspiring women who developed ideas that succeeded in the market and at the same time improve the lives of people. I am happy that our prize recognised their outstanding achievement. But it also has another aim – to inspire future generations of women innovators. Women’s participation and contribution to research and innovation is fundamental for Europe’s growth.”

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The European Commission put forward a proposal at the beginning of June to bring all of the EU’s existing investment instruments under the banner of a new fund called “InvestEU” which will formally succeed the Juncker Plan. Under the InvestEU banner, the EU executive will pull together up to 14 existing financial instruments under a single rule book and 13 assistance services will merge into a sole Advisory Hub.

The Commission will maintain the InvestEU portal to help European projects gain global visibility and attract potential investors. It wants the InvestEU fund to provide a €38 billion guarantee to support investments across the EU. The guarantee will be provisioned at 40%, meaning €15.2 billion of the next long-term EU budget will be set aside in case calls are made on it.

The EU executive says this guarantee will mobilise €650 billion in additional investment across the EU over the 7-year period. InvestEU will be managed by the Commission with the support of financial partners for its delivery. The European Investment Bank Group will remain the main one but national and regional banks or other institutions may become partners too.

Another novelty is that the instrument will focus on 4 policy areas which are key priorities for the EU. Up to €11.5 billion will be allocated to invest in sustainable infrastructure; €11.25 billion to research, innovation and digitisation and the same sum for small and medium-sized businesses. Finally, €4 billion will be provided for social investment.

Moreover, the initiative offers member states the possibility to channel up to 5% of Cohesion funds by policy area to the EU guarantee. The Juncker Plan faced criticism because of its alleged lack of a regional dimension, and the Commission believes that including new financial partners – national or regional banks – should make it easier to serve local needs.

Furthermore, the executive expects to contribute to the regional dimension of the project by providing assistance in capacity building and development through the Advisory Hub to potential recipients.


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As part of its renewed initiative to increase collaboration with other European and national associations which occupy the innovation space, TII has teamed up with ASTP-Proton to organise a 4-day summer school on the theme of “Capturing Research Business Opportunities”.  Our joint course will be held in the last week of August from Monday 27th  to Thursday 30th and is being hosted by the knowledge transfer and industrial relations office of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Registration is now open at https://www.astp-proton.eu/product/summer-school-2018/

Our five trainers from Australia, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and the UK will share their methods and experience drawn from their lengthy and successful professional careers, backed up by true case studies and anecdotal evidence. They will demonstrate

  • What is an opportunity and how to search systematically for one.
  • How to create a business case for a technology opportunity and gain insights into useful methods for doing so.
  • How to develop a winning commercial strategy for a new technology.
  • How to actively develop and manage a transfer from the Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts and improve impact.
  • How to create commercial value through licensing and proof of concept funds.

Our summer school is guaranteed to offer a stimulating, practice-based and novel perspective on capturing research opportunities for business which can impact positively on participants’ performance and career.

More info at http://www.tii.org/en/events/upcoming-events/joint-tii-astp-proton-summer-school

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A new business insight provided by Roger La Salle, innovation thought leader and pioneer of “Matrix Thinking”™

A game changer on a “dime”

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, “You don’t have to put a man on the moon to be a great and successful innovator!”  Too many people try too hard to make innovation seem difficult when in fact it’s not that hard if you have the right approach and the right tools. Really, you do have to wonder what benefit people see in making the simple seem complex.

The perfect example and it’s so obvious

A company with whom we work has develop a breathtakingly simple solution to a problem nobody even thought existed and they’ve changed the game. The inspiration of course is founded on the “Opportunity Matrix” – the notion not of asking people what they want, since they seldom know, but simply watching what they do and observing.

Posting a poster!

When a paper poster or certificate is to be sent by post or courier of course it needs to be protected, so of course we put it inside one of these round hard cardboard tubes with the nice little plastic end caps. That’s how we’ve done it for years.

But watch and learn the problems:

  • Stacking them is impossible.
  • They roll everywhere in vans and crates.
  • They are next to impossible to position reliably for  bar code readers.
  • They do not “nest”.

In fact if you pack four cylindrical tubes together for shipping a full 25 percent of the shipping volume is fresh air, air that you pay to ship. (I cannot recall how many times we have pointed this out to food and wet wipe tissue companies that insist on using round containers.)

Well finally the problem has been addressed by a Melbourne based-company, Kebet Packaging. They have developed and are now shipping triangular shaped tubes, much like the famous “Toblerone” chocolate packaging. Not only does this work but the customers love it with hugely reduced shipping volumes, much easier handling and packages that actually sit in on the spot as they are conveyed past bar code counting stations.

See the difference? It’s obvious. But as we always say “The obvious once made obvious is always obvious”

What’s the message?

  • Embrace the art of “Opportunity Capture”.
  • Learn the art of observation.
  • It’s not rocket science but it sure leads to innovation.
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DG Research & Innovation of the European Commission has published a tender for the Provision of Intellectual Property (IP) services to European Universities and Public Research Organisations with a closing date on 18 July 2018.

This service contract concerns on-demand services to promote the general objective of boosting the commercialisation of research results from European Universities and Public research organisations. These services will comprise:
— initial IP audit or evaluation,
— patent landscaping,
— a more complete IP evaluation or due diligence,
— preparation for patent applications and design and trademark applications,
— advice and support in negotiating technology transfer agreements.

Value of services: €2.5 million

Reference: 2018/RTD/B3/OP/PP-7141-2018

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A total of 242 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 30 countries have been selected for funding under the latest round of the EU’s SME Instrument programme (Phase 1). A total amount of €11.95 million will be shared out among the projects to help bring their innovations to market.

Examples of the projects selected include a sensory feedback system for phantom pains, a new technology for micro motors, a control system for e-bikes that extends battery autonomy, a distance communication system for drones, a valuation tool for start-ups based on artificial intelligence, an add-on solution for industrial robots to improve their accuracy and a new ecological packaging based on straw fibres.

The European Commission received 216 proposals under its Fast Track to Innovation programme by the latest cut-off date on 31 May 2018.

FTI promotes close-to-the-market innovation activities that is open to all types of participants. As there are no set topics, proposals are classified according to the keywords introduced by applicants. The top keywords introduced were engineering, health and energy. The proposals include participants from 31 countries, with the largest number of applications being submitted by coordinators from Spain, Italy and Germany. Most of the proposals have four participants.

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