04 May 2011

JRC launches the "Technology Transfer Offices Circle"

TTO Circle logo
European Technology Transfer Offices (TTO) Circle logo

In line with one of the commitments of the Innovation Union Communication, the JRC has launched the "TTO (Technology Transfer Offices) Circle", which met for the first time at the end of April at the premises of the European Space Agency in Noordwijk (NL).

Commitment 21 establishes that "The European Commission will facilitate effective collaborative research and knowledge transfer within the research Framework Programmes and beyond. It will work with stakeholders to develop a set of model consortium agreements with options ranging from traditional approaches to protect IP through to more open ones. Mechanisms are also needed to further strengthen knowledge transfer offices in public research organisations, in particular through trans-national collaboration".

This Circle aims at enhancing collaboration among the TTOs of large European public research organisations and brings together: TTOs of AIT (Austria), CEA (France), CERN (International), CNR (Italy), EMBL (Int.), ENEA (Italy), ESA (Int.), FhG (Germany), Helmholtz Association (Germany), ILL (Int.), IMEC (Belgium), INRIA (France), KIT (Germany), Max Planck Innovation (Germany), NCBiR (Poland), Sintef (Norway), Tecnalia (Spain), TNO (Netherlands), Tübitak (Turkey) and VTT (Finland).

Patent pools and the valuation of early stage technologies were the main topics discussed at this first meeting, which also highlighted the advantages of knowledge and practice sharing.

The members of the Circle will meet again at the CEA premises in Grenoble in October this year to review progress and discuss further topics of common interest.

Presentations available and the programme of the meeting can be downloaded from the TTO Event's page

More on the TTO Circle concept

The purpose of the TTO Circle is to unite the forces of public research organisations in order to develop a common understanding of the challenges Europe is facing in the domain of innovation and to draw some lines of action.

Its vision is to become an important actor of the innovation chain in Europe and a key reference for national R&D&I policies. Its mission is twofold:

  1. to share expertise, exchange best practices and develop synergies at the European level in the field of IP and knowledge/technology transfer and
  2. to provide support to EU research and innovation policies, building on the members' collective experience, their catalytic function and role model capacity, and to reduce the fragmentation of European research.

Background information on innovation and technology transfer

The EU needs more innovation to boost its global competitiveness, harness its knowledge base, enhance its economic position and tackle the grand societal challenges of the 21st century.

For these reasons, innovation has been placed at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, with the flagship initiative "Innovation Union". It stresses the importance of developing mechanisms to strengthen knowledge transfer offices in public research organisations, in particular through trans-national collaboration (Commitment 21).

In addition, Article 181 of the Treaty encourages the Commission to take any useful initiative to promote coordination with the Member States aiming at i.e. establishing guidelines and indicators, exchanging best practices and promoting monitoring and evaluation.