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Commission launches consultation on transnational research cooperation

On 17 May the European Commission launched a public consultation on possible actions to improve transnational research cooperation and knowledge transfer between public research organisations (PRO) and industry.

Views are sought on the existing knowledge transfer system in Europe, and the changes needed to facilitate interactions between public research organisations and industry. Such improved interactions may also require clarification of the missions of public research organisations and industry regarding research and its exploitation for and by society.

The need for a consultation was made apparent in two Commission communications: 'Investing in research: an action plan for Europe' and 'More Research and Innovation - A Common Approach'. The latter identified a fragmentation in the current rules and practices that govern sub-optimal research cooperation and knowledge transfer across Europe. In particular, it highlighted weaknesses in the guidelines on ownership of publicly-funded research results and contractual arrangements between public research organisation and industry.

While a number of Member States have done valuable work in this area, they have often only considered the national perspective, the communication notes, recommending that more consistent rules and practices across the EU would foster PRO-industry partnership links and maximise their impact. 'This will help create a level playing field for cross-border university and industry,' it says.

The consultation document contains a number of questions relating to facilitating cooperation between industry and public research organisations, the legal situation in the EU and on how to tackle the problems identified.

On the basis of the replies and of stakeholder and expert input, the Commission intends to prepare a communication on ways to foster and facilitate cooperation between industry and public research organisations on knowledge transfer in Europe.

The consultation was prepared jointly by the Commission's Research, and Enterprise and Industry DGs.

For furhter information on the consultation, please visit:
http://ec.europa.eu/research/consultations/list_en.html

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