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Sharing knowledge to boost business - 10/04/2008

Scientist at her desk looking at blood samples

Turning research results into commercial success – EU needs to improve its record.EU calls on members to capitalise on research results and proposes joint approach.

European researchers publish as many papers as their American counterparts, but they trail badly behind when it comes to inventions, patents, licensing deals and spin-offs.

Universities and other research bodies need to improve on the follow-through, “so we can turn scientific research into new products and services, which will create new industries and jobs,” explains enterprise and industry commissioner Günter Verheugen.

Researchers need to manage and share their intellectual property, the EU argues. Far from conflicting with their education and research goals, this could encourage more investment and attract students and scientists.

The EU commission has produced a set of common regulatory principles to help member countries iron out differences in rules protecting research results. And it is putting forward a code of practice for research organisations, to guide them when formulating policy.

Recently EU countries have done much to promote the transfer and sharing of knowledge, including changes to the law and new guidelines – but too often on a purely national scale. For the EU to reap the full economic benefits of scientific research, a Europe-wide approach is needed.

Some examples of European research

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