The EUREKA Global Innovation Summit is an international meeting place for businesses and innovation agencies to share knowledge, network, collaborate and secure future business growth opportunities. Businesses from across the globe will join international innovation agencies, research organisations and policy makers for unique insights, practical ideas, inspirational stories and collaborative solutions.  It will take place over 3 days from 14 to 16 May 2019 at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.

Some 300 delegates from 32 countries have already registered and although the speaking programme is not yet available on-line, the 3-day agenda reveals a stimulating mix of tracks tailored to businesses, policy makers and innovation agencies. There is  also a track dedicated to collaboration and matchmaking in which Canada and Belgium have already taken a prominent lead.

For more information and registration, please consult the event website at


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The future of online copyright is set to be transformed radically after representatives of the European Parliament and EU member states struck an agreement on the controversial Copyright Directive on 13 February, over two years after the measures were tabled by the European Commission.

As part of the deal, large online platforms, such as Google or Facebook, will have to negotiate licensing agreements with rights holders for the re-publishing of their work. Videos posted on YouTube will have to be vetted to ensure copyright has not been infringed. However, platforms will not be held automatically liable for video copyright infringements if they are able to demonstrate that they have made their “best efforts” to prevent any violations taking place.

“The negotiations were difficult,” Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip commented, “but what counts in the end is that we have a fair and balanced result that is fit for a digital Europe: the freedoms and rights enjoyed by internet users today will be enhanced, our creators will be better remunerated for their work, and the internet economy will have clearer rules for operating and thriving.”

The directive aims to ensure that producers of creative content are fairly remunerated online, but had faced severe criticism by some stakeholders who claimed that it could limit freedom of expression online. The two most contentious items in the Copyright Directive, on which agreement was found, include Article 11 and Article 13.

Article 13 obliges internet platforms to create filters that monitor user uploads to ensure copyright is not breached. Under the current draft, large platforms must make their best efforts to secure licenses for user-uploaded content and must do everything they can to ensure that content which breaches copyright is never uploaded online. Article 11, meanwhile, obliges internet platforms that post snippets of information – such as Google News – to contract a license from the original publisher. Republishing more than “single words or very short extracts” will now require a license.

In another prominent area of debate, text and data mining will be exempted from the copyright restrictions, allowing scientists and academics to conduct their research on large data sets without fear of infringing copyright.

The agreed text must now be formally approved by MEPs and ministers – by mid-April at the latest. Once fully adopted by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, Member States will have 24 months to transpose the new rules into national legislation.

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EU member states have agreed on an amended version of InvestEU, the €38 billion loan fund originally proposed by the European Commission in June last year and endorsed by the European Parliament in January. InvestEU will bring the 14 different financial instruments that are currently available to support investment into one programme, with €11.25 billion worth of loan guarantees earmarked for research and innovation.

The EU Council amendments include the creation an “Investment Committee,” of independent experts who will assess if projects are technically and economically viable and give approval to EU support. The committee will be required to publish the rationale for each of its approvals. It is to be supported by a secretariat made up of Commission and European Investment Bank (EIB) staff. However, the Council did not reach an agreement on where this secretariat is to be based.

Like the Juncker Plan, InvestEU will have the Commission provide guarantees for EIB loans, with the aim of securing financing for infrastructure and other projects that would otherwise be too risky to invest in.

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META Group & ClearViewIP have been selected to run the European Commission’s new service to provide specialised professional IP advice to universities and public research organisations across Europe.

The IP Booster is a free service designed to help PROs and universities address the challenges of

  • improving the impact of high-quality research on the market;
  • trying to better address IP issues associated with commercialisation;
  • searching for experts who can help develop a successful intellectual property strategy.

The team’s carefully selected IP, technology and business strategy experts can examine a PRO’s research results and help to develop the best intellectual property strategies for the organisation. Services include

  • determining what type and what amount of IP protection is needed for a project’s intellectual assets, and whether it is necessary to acquire rights to third party IPRs;
  • designing a patent landscape to help identify which commercialisation pathways are best for a team’s research;
  • conducting a thorough due diligence assessing the quantity and quality of IP assets generated by a project and estimating their future value;
  • preparing a project’s patent, design and trademark applications;
  • providing advice and support in negotiating technology transfer agreements.

Applications for support can be made via the IP Booster service website at

The first call closes on March 6, but the new service will run until December 2021 and information on upcoming calls and FAQs are posted on the service’s website. The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • The application must originate from a research group or a Technology Transfer Office of a European university or public research organisation.
  • The applicant’s university or organisation must have a PIC (Participant Identification Code).
  • The applicant must not be able to secure similar IP services at national level.

Additional queries can be addressed to:


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The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are launching the Fraunhofer Tech Transfer Fund under the European Commission’s InnovFin programme with a total volume of €60 million. They will be supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments, EFSI, which is the central axis of the Juncker Plan. The aim is to commercialize the intellectual property generated at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft from its 72 thematic Fraunhofer Institutes across Germany. The agreement is also supported by InnovFin, the European programme for innovative small and medium businesses. The two complementary partners – the EIF as an expert in fund structures and Fraunhofer as Europe’s largest application-oriented research institution – want to bridge the gap in early commercialization phases and grow more high-tech start-ups in Germany and Europe.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is an integral part of the German innovation system, the largest applied research organisation in Europe and a model for applied research organisations worldwide. This is the first time that the EIF is promoting technology transfer from a public research body in Germany. Fraunhofer Technologie Transfer Fonds GmbH, a company specially established for this purpose, will have an exclusive opportunity to identify and finance spin-offs and licensing models from Fraunhofer institutes at an early stage of the innovation process. By providing funding for spin-offs and licensing models from Fraunhofer institutes, Fraunhofer Technologie Transfer Fonds GmbH will also create incentives for the research community to take its findings to market.

The fund is being managed by German Tech Transfer Management GmbH, based in Munich. More information at


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The European Commission received 2 822 proposals for the SME Instrument Phase 1 by the most recent cut-off date of 13 February 2019. SMEs from 39 countries submitted proposals. The largest number of proposals for this batch was submitted by Spanish applicants (428 and 16% of the total), followed closely by Italian (384) and Swedish applicants (160).

The most popular areas of activity for applicants were ICT, health and engineering. Since 2018, the SME Instrument is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. A novelty under the EIC pilot is that applications are fully bottom-up. As there are no longer set topics, proposals are therefore classified according to keywords introduced by applicants. The top keywords introduced were, ICT, health and engineering and technology.

Over the same period the European Commission received 227 proposals for the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot’s Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) by the most recent cut-off date of 21 February 2019. FTI promotes close-to-the market innovation activities open to all types of participants. The programme offers € 3 million to consortia composed of 3 to 5 partners including mainly industrial participants.

FTI is fully bottom-up. As there are no set topics, proposals are classified according to the keywords introduced by applicants. The top keywords introduced were engineering, health and ICT. The proposals include participants from 27 countries, the largest number of proposals being submitted by Spanish, Italian and Dutch applicants.

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

A tiny change – can make a big difference!

The butterfly effect is the term used to describe often huge consequences that can follow a seemingly trivial incident. Just like swiping a fly away whilst driving with the distraction causing a serious accident. Or as many have experienced, checking a text when driving, only to realize that we have lost concentration on the road, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. Thankfully, I have learned, but too few have yet to get the message – excuse the pun.

Some examples of seemingly somewhat trivial events playing out with terrible consequences can be seen everywhere. Adolf Hitler being denied entry as insufficiently talented to study art in Vienna probably led him instead to follow his passion to rebirth Germany.

Or the tiny software enabled light that told the operator of the Three Mile Island Nuclear reactor when a “Valve Close” signal has been correctly sent. Unfortunately this did not indicate the valve had actually closed. It hadn’t, with the catastrophic consequences now known as the Three Mile Island Nuclear disaster.

The list of such minor issues leading to big outcomes is endless.

So what with innovation?

In my last post I suggested that innovation does not necessarily have to be a risky business if done properly and given the right tools. I then gave many examples, but critics of incremental innovation often suggest that such small improvements are not disruptive and thus industry or world changing innovation is not an outcome of increments.

This is not to say that innovation or small changes necessarily have to be easy, but small changes can and do create and change industries.

There are many examples

The electronic or battery wrist watch when first developed took a little engineering, but in essence it was a simple innovation. Replace a spring that needed winding with a small battery and motor. The Swiss ignored this innovation at their peril. When these watches were first launched during the 1970’s there were over 1600 Swiss watch companies making mechanical watches. Soon after the electronic watch took hold, the number was just 600.

The mere observation that the natural occurring magnets, called load-stone, when suspended by a string or floated on a straw bed always pointed north led to the birth of reliable navigation. Galileo’s observation that the period (time to swing) of a pendulum was unchanged even as its swing stroke diminished led to the creation of proper clocks.

These tiny observations changed the world.

When we think of innovations of addition, or increments, think no further that Airbnb, the simple increment of connecting a home owner to a person wanting accommodation, or Uber, the simple idea of connecting a person needing a lift to a car owner available to carry them.

Ship telescopes of old are well known, but it was the mere connection of two such devices to make binoculars that led to a revolution in optics, stereo vision and the more accurate measure of distant objects, all by simply combining two readily available telescopes.

The simple idea to leave vehicle lights on during the day, now referred to as Day Time Running Lights, are reported to have reduced pedestrian fatalities by as much as 27%. A simple innovation with profound consequences.

Yes indeed, incremental innovation can change the world.

Roger La Salle trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas.

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