Sharing knowledge and opportunity
With over 50 years of co-ordinated research in the field of fusion energy, the relevant European laboratories and universities have gained extensive scientific expertise and knowledge. To ensure the successful development of fusion power, this intellectual property must be unlocked and shared with European industry.
Much of the know-how on fusion technology is currently embedded in research centres across Europe, and a robust programme is now being put in place to transfer this know-how to industry. This will allow Europe to capitalise on significant public investment of recent decades.
A recent survey of industrial technology contracts in Fusion energy research has shown that approximately 37% brought innovative new products to market. This is not surprising as, similar to CERN - the European Centre for Nuclear Research near Geneva- the research is cutting edge, demanding the utmost performance from a wide variety of technologies. The greater emphasis on technology transfer can only improve on this performance.
IPR for industry
To boost this process of technology transfer, the European Commission has established a policy on intellectual property rights (IPR), such as patents, copyright and documented know-how from the fusion programme, with the clear aim to increase collaboration between the industry and the Euratom fusion research programme. European industry will thus become more competitive on the international stage. There will also be actions to strengthen the communication between industry and the fusion programme aiming at preparing industry to become partners in the development of the next generation of fusion reactors.
New tools such as a comprehensive database for Euratom IPR are being developed to ensure that industry is aware of the business opportunities available from the fusion research programme. Access to this information will provide industry with the possibility to evaluate the competitive advantages closer involvement can bring.