European CommissionThe European Commission has announced the names of the 15 innovators and investors who will form a High Level Group to advise Commissioner Carlos Moedas and his colleagues on the formation of the new European Innovation Council.

The Commission recently agreed to allocate some €2.5 billion of its Horizon 2020 budget to expanded support for innovation in what it calls a “preparatory phase” for a future EIC. It said the money will be spent targeting “breakthrough innovation projects with the potential for scaling up.” Starting this March, the new High Level Group of Innovators will advise on that effort, and also make recommendations for the future role of the EIC in the new Framework Programme for R&D to start in 2021.

The line-up of the advisory group consists of

  • Nicklas Bergman (Sweden), entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Quid Tu Vides and Intergalactic Industries, co-founder of Nirab Parts

  • Martin Bruncko (Slovakia), founder and managing partner of Steam Capital

  • Paddy Cosgrave (Ireland), founder and CEO of Web Summit and f.ounders

  • Gráinne Dwyer (Ireland), CEO of Ludgate Hub

  • Hermann Maria Hauser (Austria), entrepreneur, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners
  • Marjolein Helder (Netherlands), founder and CEO of Plant-e
  • Taavet Hinrikus (Estonia), co-founder and CEO of TransferWise
  • Ingmar Hoerr (Germany), co-founder and CEO of CureVac
  • Bindi Karia (UK), start-up expert and advisor
  • Jana Kolar (Slovenia), CEO of CERIC-ERIC and governing board member of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology
  • Carlos Oliveira (Portugal), entrepreneur, founder of Skyuber, CEO of ebankIT, NED of ASAP54, Codevision, CardMobili, PepFeed, President of InvestBraga and Startup Braga
  • Jim Hagemann Snabe (Denmark), Board of Trustees member, World Economic Forum, and adjunct professor at Copenhagen Business School
  • Kinga Stanisławska (Poland), managing partner and founder of Experior Venture Fund
  • Constantijn Van Oranje-Nassau (Netherlands), special envoy of StartupDelta
  • Roxanne Varza (USA and France), CEO of StationF

The group was selected from the 469 candidates who responded to a public call for applications. The final line-up was chosen to reflect several criteria, including a balance of skills, experience, knowledge, geography, gender and age.

Short bios of the group can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/research/eic/index.cfm?pg=hlg



Posted in Innovation, People | Leave a comment


shutterstock_406453600TII’s new-look annual meeting features a series of open and frank exchanges among technology transfer and research commercialization experts from around the world on the current challenges of bringing new innovations to market.  Whether you call it technology transfer, research exploitation or technology commercialization, the route is long, complex and full of obstacles. The intention is to energize the debate with new insights about what works well in bridging the research-to-market gap and by opening up the dialogue with the industrialists, researchers and cluster companies attending the Vaasa Energy Week 2017. More information on the week’s events at http://energyvaasa.vaasanseutu.fi/energyweek/

In 2017, TII is re-positioning itself as a global online community of innovation support and commercialization experts whose skills and services are available to assist universities, RTOs, small and large companies and regions to commercialize their inventions and new technologies or to put in place programmes and schemes which aim to maximize the ROI of their local research efforts. Thanks to its international nodes in China, India, Korea and South America, TII also offers its partners and members the opportunity to internationalize their research commercialization efforts (both inward and outward technology transfer).

We invite you to join us in Vaasa at our Innovation Dialogue, the new experience in knowledge building and sharing. More info and registration at http://www.tii.org/index2.php?sm=tii_en-8-upcoming_events&cat=4&idnews=201611070002


Posted in Event, Innovation | Leave a comment


barack-obamaAssessing the legacy of Barack Obama will be easier in a few decades when we can see the long-term consequences of his presidential decisions and initiatives. An immediate analysis of his science and technology policies, however, reveals significant accomplishments in the promotion of science and technology, education, space exploitation, clean energy, climate change and the environment.

Read more in this Huffington Post article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-conversation-us/obamas-legacy-in-science_b_14164910.html


Posted in Innovation, People, Publication | Leave a comment


research-strategiesIn October 2016, the Science|Network of universities, companies and innovation organisations gathered in Brussels to debate the future of EU R&D programmes. The result was a profusion of ideas, recommendations and warnings for the future of EU research and innovation.

The 250 participants – who were joined by 2 000 online viewers – debated issues such as should military and cleantech R&D get higher priority than before? and what’s more important: getting more breakthroughs from top (and usually rich) universities or developing more research and engineering talent in poorer regions? as well as how to fit other R&D priorities in the agenda, such as global health problems, geneediting, big data and artificial intelligence.

The report that distills the day’s work presents a set of suggestions for the next Framework Programme. They do not represent official policy in any way, but they sum up the frequently heard ideas from participants at the conference. The report is available free of charge at http://sciencebusiness.net/OurReports/ReportDetail.aspx?ReportId=1007


Posted in Event, Innovation, Publication | Leave a comment


ecc-social-media-02TII member Creaction International, with offices in Luxembourg and at the ESA Redu Station in the Belgian Ardennes, has launched a new session of its Space Creativity Centre, which offers innovators a full immersion experience over 3 days (14-16 March 2017) to validate their technology idea and shape their new product. Creaction’s approach consists of a combination of result-oriented creativity sessions with direct access to technical experts, virtual proof of concept, rapid modelization and/or rapid 3D prototyping. This method has already demonstrated that it can help reduce by 6 to 12 months the time its takes to bring a new concept to market.

Applications are invited from R&D deparments and innovators with a promising space technology idea (Innovation Readiness Level of between 2 and 5) that they would like to develop into an application for another industrial sector. Five projects will be selected by Creaction International and the ESA Technology Transfer Programme Office for the 3-day immersion course. The results remain the property of the project holders, who will have the opportunity to submit a BAP (Business Application Proposal) to be hosted by one of the ESA BICs.

Registration should be made by 22 February 2017 via Creaction’s website at http://creaction.be/index.php/fr/

No charge is made for the session and the organisers provide accommodation and local transport with a free pick-up from  Luxembourg, Charleroi and Brussels airports. Participants should cover their own travel to Belgium as well as the cost of breakfast and dinner on each day

Posted in Event, Innovation | Leave a comment


reempresaEvery year, around 450 000 companies and over two million employees are transferred to new owners across Europe. However, up to one-third of these transfers may not be successful, ending up in the loss each year of some 150 000 companies and 600 000 jobs. On the other hand, successfully transferred companies preserve on average five jobs and have a much higher potential to survive since they have established customers, products and practices.  Studies on the subject have also demonstrated that it is seven times easier to grow an existing company than start a business from scratch.

Since 2011 Reempresa has been helping small businesses in Catalonia with business transfers, having managed 1 200 successful business transfers and saved more than 3600 jobs. Co-financed by the ERDF, Reempresa is a  physical and digital small business marketplace, with experts and training sessions to help match sellers and future buyers. The initative is soon to expand into fifteen more EU member states, thanks to a project funded under the COSME programme of the European Commision.

The model, if replicated and adapted to suit local conditions – and on condition that it reaches a critical mass of sellers and potential buyers – could contribute to solving one of the biggest headaches of an SME owner who wishes to see his/her business continue and flourish under new ownership.

More info at http://www.reempresa.org/eng/I-want-to-sell-my-business/The-business-transfer-process


Posted in Innovation, Project | Leave a comment


Roger La SalleA new business insight provided by Roger La Salle, innovation thought leader and pioneer of “Matrix Thinking”™, who was our luminary speaker at the TII 2016 conference in Barcelona. 

Too Close to See?
But it’s obvious! I have a saying: “The obvious once made obvious is always obvious”.

When you point out the obvious to people the common response is, “I knew that”, as well they may have, but in fact they didn’t until it was pointed out. For example, if I tell somebody that an odd number multiplied by an odd number always yields an odd number outcome, the common response is “of course, I knew that”. Yes they do now, but until told they hadn’t realized it. Personally I don’t have a problem with that, it’s human nature, but what frustrates me is when people hear the obvious but are unwilling to change and learn, for fear of – well, I don’t know what?

A case in point
You may find this hard to believe, but this is a true story of how we can miss the mark if we are too close to the problem.

Some months ago I was at a function and speaking with a person who sells a common brand of petrol power tools such as chain saws, blowers, mowers and the like. I suggested they should also be into battery tools only to be promptly told that they have a complete range of battery tools. I was amazed, I didn’t know that and it’s a common brand.

Check it out?
Curious at being so ignorant I went to their web site and looked, only to find nothing of the sort. I then went to the little search bar at the top of their home page and typed in Battery Tools. The result shocked me – “No tools match this search term”. How could this be? I had been left in no doubt that they had a complete range.

My curiosity aroused, I phoned the company and indeed spoke with the very person who told me they had such a range, only to be told that I needed to search “cordless” not battery in the inquiry bar as “cordless” is the industry term. Cordless I thought, so is my petrol blower and chain saw?

Who is your customer?
Whilst cordless may well be the industry term this company’s web site is targeted at consumers and the public in general who no doubt would refer to such tools as battery tools. Indeed, to cover all contingencies, what harm is there in cross-referencing both terms in their search bar facility?

Being too close – sad but true.
Just a few days ago, many months after this experience I again checked the company web site and again searched battery tools and again the result, “No tools match this search term”. I find it immensely frustrating to see people so slow to change and to even consider the obvious? Knowing your business and being close is of course essential, but so too is knowing your customer, who your web site is targeting and how your customer thinks.



Posted in Innovation, People | Leave a comment