Portal aims to help the seeds of innovation to grow

Portal aims to help the seeds of innovation to grow

An online portal is aiming to promote the results of European environmental research and development by providing details of a range of promising eco-innovations, and rating their “technology readiness”.

The Innovationseeds portal went public in mid-2012. It has established a library of results from more than 100 environmental R&D projects which have now reached the stage at which they could be market tested. The R&D results cover a wide range of topics, from air quality monitoring, to flood prevention, to eco-efficiency and eco-innovation indicators, to waste management, and many more.

In each case, Innovationseeds assigns a “technology readiness level” (TRL) to the innovation - a scale that indicates the level of development of a technology, from the idea (level 1) to the full deployment of the product in the marketplace (level 9). The minimum TRL for the cases on the portal is TRL 3, indicating that proof of concept has been established.

The portal is coordinated by Greenovate! Europe, a membership organisation which brings together companies and other bodies involved in environmental innovation. The portal is itself the output of a project that receives European Union research funding - the ECO-PRO project, which is supported with €998,920 from the Seventh Framework Programme.

Innovationseeds coordinator Katharina Krell of Greenovate! Europe says that the added value of the portal is that it standardises the descriptions of the research results, including the application of TRLs. “We add value by explaining the R&D results in a consistent manner based on functional descriptions, [meaning that] we explain what the functions of a given piece of knowledge can be. Also, our portal presents R&D results, and not just projects. That means we focus really on the outcomes,” she says. This distinguishes Innovationseeds from other websites that aggregate existing information, she adds.

Innovationseeds is using social media to promote its contents. Communication channels include LinkedIN (the Green Knowledge for Industry and Politics group) and Twitter, where developments on the portal can be followed @innovseeds. More conventional promotion methods include a newsletter and participation in conferences.

Innovationseeds claims to be a platform that “helps research teams, policymakers, technology users and business leaders tap into cutting-edge research, and will help boost Europe’s environmental performance. Policymakers can find inspiration, too, for ways to reach their eco-innovation policy targets.” Krell adds that, though it is too early to measure the impact of the portal on the take-up of eco-innovations, “the emphasis is on practice, meaning that people are not just talking about it but actually do it, from research to market.”

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