European IP Helpdesk


Bulletin No. 2 Go-to-Market

Written by Jörg Scherer, European IP Helpdesk

With Horizon 2020 the EU has been implementing one of the largest research and innovation funding programmes worldwide. Although the scientific breakthroughs and discoveries made are impressive and scientific publications stemming from these projects globally rank among the highest in terms of citations, achieving the desired impact of the results of these initiatives remains challenging. The effective transfer of results to various potential end-user groups (on industrial, societal or policy level) is key to delivering the desired impact of the funding programmes for the (European) economy, society and environment at large.

To reach this objective, a comprehensive and strategic approach to dissemination and exploitation of project outcomes of EU-funded initiatives can support and foster the utilisation of these results, and lead to improved and increased application, thus various aspects of innovation across the EU. It is the successful and effective use of R&D results that will keep European businesses at the forefront of growth in the years to come, ensuring that the “technologies of tomorrow” are not “forgotten” in the dust of labs or university archives.

Thoughtful dissemination activities provide an effective support to bridge the gap between research results and their successful uptake and use. The different components comprise identifying, nurturing, maturing, disseminating and exploiting major scientific outcomes in an efficient manner.

Central steps in this process are:

raising awareness of exploitation possibilities;

identifying valuable and exploitable results;

assessing risks and barriers for successful exploitation (e.g. IP-related risks);

providing an opportunity to clarify exploitation pathways and business models (e.g. through exploitation workshops);

proposing solutions and anticipating potential conflicts for “Go-to-Market” action plans;

setting-up strategies and road maps for the long-term sustainability of project results;

facilitating (re)use of project results through Open Research and Open Innovation approaches;

accelerating the value creation out of novel knowledge (e.g. creating revenues, improving skill sets of an organisation, preparing for standardisation, etc.).

Identifying and prioritising project outcomes with high exploitation potential

Paving the way to successful exploitation, the proper identification and management of Key Exploitable Results (KERs) plays an essential role throughout the entire life cycle of R&I projects funded through Horizon 2020 (and Horizon Europe from 2021 onwards). A Key Exploitable Result (KER) is an identified major result, which has been selected and prioritised due to its high potential to be “exploited” (i.e. to be used and derive benefits) downstream the value chain of a product, process or solution, or act as an important input to policy, further research or education. Usually, the selection and

An Introduction: Successful “Go-to-Market” Strategies in Horizon 2020 Projects

prioritisation of exploitable results is based on the a) degree of innovation, b) exploitability and c) impact.

Poor dissemination activities result in difficulties to find partners, who might take an interest in (commercially) exploiting project results, which in turn may lead to missed commercialisation opportunities. The synergetic interplay between dissemination and exploitation is crucial for Horizon 2020 “Go-to-Market” strategies. Although they can be examined separately, dissemination and exploitation often belong together, since one drives the other and vice versa. Demonstration activities, prototype development, data and Open Access management, knowledge and innovation management, IP protection strategies and active stakeholder engagement, are all examples that further facilitate and accelerate the process between both fields. Even though dissemination and exploitation activities are already relevant during the project, they usually gain momentum towards the end of the project, when the bulk of expected outcomes typically emerges, and can be brought together to address the call challenges and expected impacts. Consequently, there must be a viable plan in place to address what happens after the project has come to a close.

The “Horizon Results Platform”: helping turn science and research results into value-adding innovations

The European Commission requires beneficiaries to disseminate and exploit the results of the different projects in the widest and most accessible format. For this reason, the “Horizon Results Platform” has recently

been launched. The aim of the platform is to provide projects in Horizon 2020 with a free online space where they can advertise the results of their projects to different audiences. It thus aims to facilitate the exchange between supply and demand when it comes to the valorisation of project results.

Horizon 2020 is an attractive and flexible programme offering beneficiaries a wide range of different pathways to turn research outcomes and technological developments into value-creating products and/or services such as:

improving existing/developing new products and services to be more competitive in existing and/or emerging new markets or further use results in research, education, policy support,

creating new businesses for further exploitation, i.e. spin-offs or joint ventures among project partners or involving third parties outside the project,

taking advantage of licensing opportunities by negotiating the right type of licence to be granted, e.g. exclusive, non-exclusive or sole licence, and whether it should be limited by the field of use and/or territory. By nature, licensing is a viable and the most common approach to create business opportunities out of research results.

However, exploitation is not an easy task as the success of this process depends on several internal and external factors such as business strategies, market