June 19th – 21st, 2019: Connect to the future of innovation
STM attended Innovative Enterprise Week. Conference held in Bucharest was organized under the auspices of EU Presidency for EU Council in order to raise awareness on EU Research and Innovation Programme (2021 – 2027) – Horizon Europe – by bringing up to stage a debate on overcoming the gap raising from idea to investment project.
The specific focus was given to increasing the profile of Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot, the Horizon instrument for supporting EU top-innovators ( both researchers and companies) coming up with ideas that are radically different from existing products, services or business models which are risky but have the potential to become international. EIC is similar in purpose with Danube Strategic Project Fund (DSPF) – which addresses only to Danube region – and works through 2 pilot schemes: EIC Pathfinder pilot (grant only for visionary ideas for developing radical and Innovative technologies) and EIC Accelerator pilot (grant only and blended finance for radically new, highly risky ideas commercially viable and with a potential to scale up).
Structure of the EIC is simple consisting of 15-20 professionals with visionary thinking hired as temporary Commission staff and 5 program managers to follow-up on projects. Another important aspect is that for project are necessary at least 3 partners from EU/AC. Project proposal criteria does not exceed more than 30 pages.
Funded ideas from science to fiction (EIC Pathfinder) hang around exploiting the knowledge of neural regeneration through a sensor worn on the hand, developing a a neuro-controlled upper limb prosthesis intuitively controlled and felt by the amputee as the natural one, etc. EIC Accelerator success stories are virtual reality in human eye resolution and biodegradable water reservoir for landscapescale ecosystem restoration.
Additionally to this, 3rd day of the conference was dedicated to another financial EU instrument to boost its reclaim as innovation leader – the InvestEU Programme. This is working trough InvestEU Fund, InvestEU Advisory Hub and InvestEU Portal and it is its predecessor is the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI).
This programs comes also with mentoring support and also tackle the better inclusion of women in science as this subject was addressed by participants during parallel sessions.
InnoEnterprise Week was of great interest for both Steinbeis Transfer Management (Bucharest) and Steinbeis East West Joint Ventures (Stuttgart) as both companies were represented at this conference by Jurgen Raizner, management coordinator and consultant and Roxana Boboruta – project management for funded projects which could be easily subject to themes debated during these conference.
Synergies are to be seen in terms of technology transfer and connecting macro-regions by making available to collaborators the opportunity to deepen the already started discussions. For this, we point out the business opportunities component of EEII which contains the intellectual resource for going both in EIC Pathfinder or Accelerator, being necessary openness of business partners in the field.
Moreover, involving entrepreneurs in Bologna system mentorship component from ifempower project could tackle easily the business-university dialogue. Reliable up-to-date information on financial tools described above could contribute to making the business-university relationship functional simply by working together on research project funded by EIC.
Steinbeis is ready to share experience on technology transfer to interested collaborators. Making use of instruments like EIC in Romania could be of great value and a solution to improve the innovation level both in universities and business environment. Success rate in EIC FET OPEN was of 12.7% (~3 Mio EUR retained contribution). Given STM experience from more than 20 years, the result could come also from insufficient dialogue with professionals in the field when applying, quality of the project consortium but also approach towards existing patents. Property rights over an idea/product could be valuated and improved through such instruments if owners are ready in invest for professional advice.