Event Report: Symposium on Transatlantic EU-US Cooperation on Innovation and Technology Transfer

bridges vol. 29, April 2011 / Noteworthy Information

logo_bilat_usa_small.jpg European and US experts in the fields of research, technology transfer, innovation, and innovation policy met in Vienna on March 22, 2011, as participants in the Symposium on Transatlantic EU-US Cooperation on Innovation and Technology Transfer.

Organized by the BILAT-USA Initiative, an EU-funded strategic project coordinated by the FFG-Austrian Research Promotion Agency, the Symposium provided a platform for raising awareness and increasing mutual understanding of up-to-date innovation and technology transfer experiences, Europe's reflections as summarized in the Innovation Union strategic plan, and its implications for EU-US cooperation. The Symposium was organized back-to-back with the MIT Europe Conference "Innovation in a Networked World: Technology, People and Places," thus offering three highly inspiring days of insights, exchange, and discussion of the issues.

As part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the new Innovation Union Flagship initiative - the strategic orientation for the fields of science, technology, and innovation for the coming 10 years - was presented and discussed from the perspective of its implications for transatlantic EU-US cooperation.

The Innovation Union indicates an orientation towards "turning ideas into jobs, green growth and social progress," thus representing further development by integrating open innovation principles and focusing on innovation at all levels. Globalization demands that European research must look outward. Therefore, international science and technology cooperation represents an integral part of EU's science & technology policy.

The open innovation paradigm and its options for EU-US cooperation were discussed from the US point of view by Elias Carayannis, building on his ideas of "Open Innovation Diplomacy: linking research with development via entrepreneurship and innovation for sustainable and robust competitiveness and peace through prosperity."1
Describing the context for modern universities, their challenges, new disciplines, and the principles for managing modern universities, he presented what he called a "21st century university model in an open and fractal research, education and innovation ecosystem perspective" following the trend of moving from "tactical fragmentation to strategic integration in Europe and beyond."

The effects of open innovation at entrepreneurial, global, national, and regional levels, as well as open innovation as seen from different users' perspectives, were presented and discussed in two specific plenary sessions. Speakers were selected who could provide a wider overview, thus representing in themselves a variety of different types of organizations, countries, and cultures.

Parallel sessions concentrated on innovation and technology transfer financing, and on human capital as well as industry-university collaboration. The case studies, reflections, and models presented were particularly interesting due to their potential for providing policy advice, which is especially valuable at a time when discussions have already begun on a new EU Research and Innovation Program to follow the 7th EU Framework Program.

Main messages and conclusions

Due to its specific composition of speakers with wide-ranging expertise going beyond the "usual suspects," the symposium provided an opportunity to discuss innovation and technology transfer with more "out of the box" perspectives in the light of open innovation and the challenges it poses in the EU and US.

There are no one-dimensional answers. Open innovation as a concept could be understood as a reflection of requirements in the globalized world - particularly in science, technology, and innovation - with ever-increasing opportunities for building and expanding a network of key partners, as well as the challenge of identifying the most suitable partners across sectors, disciplines, nations, and cultures based on their expertise.

Based on the Symposium's presentations and discussions of case studies and models, suggestions and recommendations will be provided for policy advice and for further strengthening the EU-US collaboration within these topics; these will be available at: http://www.euussciencetechnology.eu/


About the conference organizer: the symposium was organized by the BILAT-USA Project. "BILAT-USA - Bilateral coordination for the enhancement and development of S&T partnerships between the European Union and the United States of America" aims to improve awareness of EU-US Science & Technology cooperation by establishing a sustainable, knowledge-based, and bi-regional dialogue platform between S&T key players as well as stakeholders from the EU-Member States, Associated Countries, and the US.

The BILAT-USA Project provides a range of pragmatic services all geared to strengthen the cooperation in science and technology between Europe and the US, eventually contributing to increasing the US participation in the EU Framework Program. The BILAT-USA was set up as a project to complement the "Link2US" project, which was established to enhance EU-US S&T cooperation by increasing European researchers' awareness of and participation in US research funding schemes.

Funded by the European Union's 7th Framework Program, the BILAT-USA Project is coordinated by the FFG-Austrian Research Promotion Agency in cooperation with AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), Tetalap Hungary, APRE Italy, and Intrasoft Luxemburg.

Comprehensive information on activities of the BILAT-USA and Link2US projects and relevant issues on EU-US science and technology cooperation can be found at the Web portal. In addition, a quarterly newsletter is available upon subscription.

For further information, please visit: http://www.euussciencetechnology.eu/bilat-usa

1. Carayannis, E. et al. "Open Innovation Diplomacy: Linking Research with Development via Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Sustainable and Robust Competitiveness and Peace through Prosperity." Springer Journal of the Knowledge Economy (JKEC). Spring 2011.  In press.