InnoSPICE Assessment in ESAK

In the latest visit at the Esak institution in Kef, the three assessor trainees of the innoSPICE methodology shared their views about the Ramses project and the innoSPICE approach. Ramses is a  DAAD project started at the beginning of 2016. The objective is the improvement of management capabilities of the participating universities in research and higher education.  It is a collaboration between IRESA and the University of Bremen.

Prof. Thouraya Souissi, when asked about the project, says that technology transfer is one of the strategic plans of IRESA. “Actually, this is one of IRESA’s mission” says Pr. Souissi. “The innoSPICE Tool fits very well on it. InnoSPICE is a tool that can be used for the improvement of all processes of an institution involved in innovation and technology. This could be very helpful to our organization ‘s improvement of technology transfer.”

A big challenge that a lot of research institutions are facing is the transfer of their results to end users, in this case farmers. Interesting research outcomes and publications are not being shared effectively. There is an understanding of this situation in IRESA, and the Ministry is trying to find a solution for these issues. “We are working to improve ourselves” Souissi says. “We are looking for new models of transfer and innovation that could help us to transfer a part of our interesting results.” Souissi believes that the use of the innoSPICE Tool, will assist with the evaluation of all processes that need to be improved. As a consequence, this could lead to the successful transfer of technology.

Prof. Souissi, said her interest in the innoSPICE tool was because she found it interesting to have a tool that can identify weak points in the organization and help improve their work. Other interesting aspects for Souissi are the opportunities that this tool offers: Staff of different categories and interests can come together and exchange ideas about the development of their institution.

“For me, it is a positive aspect of the tool, that people come together and discuss solutions and ideas that could help to improve the development and functionality of the institutions.”

Every innoSpice assessment gives her a positive impression because she already can see that the participants are getting more aware of the need to improve a lot of things.

Prof. Souissi describes it as a quick win. “I can feel that something is changing on the way that we see the things, and this is positive,” she says. In the future, Souissi would like to see the institutions, supervised by IRESA, to implement this tool in their daily work, “not just because it is required of them, but also because they see its benefit. I know that this is going to take a lot of time and work, but I am also very optimistic” she mentions.

Pr. Thouraya Souissi

Dr. Nouiri is also one the assessor trainees. He expects to train staff who, within a short period of time, could perform innoSpice assessments. “It will be very efficient if we make this a tradition, yearly assessment, and evaluation.” Nouiri believes that the innoSPICE approach can be very helpful in the Tunisian research centers of Higher Education and Agriculture. “It is exactly what we need,” he says.

Dr. Benrebah, also an assessor trainee, believes that the improvement of the research results could have a positive effect on the local community and could also increase employment in Tunisia. “The collaboration between research and industry actors can bring new results in the socioeconomic environment” he argues. Benrebah hopes that “after the completion of this project the participants will be able to apply the innoSPICE methodology on their research centers to improve the transfer of their technology and their innovative management activities.”

The innoSPICE Assessors in ESAK


In October 2017, Dr. Michael Boronowsky and David Wewetzer, members of the Ramses project from the University of Bremen, visited Tunisia for the further development of the innoSPICE Assessment Plan. Specifically, they visited the headquarter of IRESA, and discussed the training plan by the executive assessors and the future direction of innoSPICE within IRESA. IRESA is the Tunisian project partner of the RAMSES Project and the national center for research and education in agriculture.

The second visit of the Ramses project in Kef took place in 21 of November 2017 when, David Wewetzer together with the three trained assessors of the innoSPICE tool, Prof. Thouraya Souissi, Dr. Jamel Ben Rabeh and Dr. Issam Nouiri, visited the Esak Institute in Kef. After a requirement meeting with the Director of the Institute and the members of the group, the team decided the process that they will be focused on the next days.

David Wewetzer and Prof. Thouraya Souissi (Director of Pedagogical Affairs of IRESA) visited the Director of Esak, Prof. Mokhtar Mahouachi

On November 22, a second innoSPICE assessment was conducted with the participants. Because of the large number of participants with different interests, the group was separated in two smaller ones: one group whose focus is on research science and another whose focus is administration. The assessment was successfully completed for both groups on 24 November. The next meetings are planned in March 2018.

Above: The subgroup focused on administration activities during the innoSPICE assessment

Below: The subgroup focused on research activities.

Recent actions for the Trifold project

The overarching aim of Trifold is to support the six selected Tunisian research centers in improving their research valorization. Capacity development measures have been implemented to introduce changes to their internal processes in order to increase their transfer and innovation capabilities.

Improved research valorization will have a threefold impact to the national Tunisian innovation ecosystem:

  • In terms of the evaluation methodology to be used
  • In terms of new role models being piloted in some Tunisian research centers
  • and in terms of organizational developments and institutional settings.

Research scientists in CBBC (Centre of Biotechnology of Borj Cendria) introducing their valorization activities to David Wewetzer

In October, the Trifold team from the University of Bremen visited the partnering centers in Tunisia for another working meeting with different labs and to coach their activities and deeper analyse the needs of the institutions:

In CBBC Borj Cedria, Dr. Michael Boronowsky continued the training program based on the innoSpice process capability assessment which was conducted in summer 2017 and generated a detailed assessment report. Following the report’s recommendations, the team from ARTT gets insight into many details of how to develop an individual result into a marketable thematic platform. In addition to the training sessions, individual coaching was also provided.

Participants on the project exchanging ideas about their work plan in ARTT

Ms. Tanja Woronowicz and Prof. Ralf Isenmann, also a member of the University of Bremen, coached their colleagues in IRA Médenine and the centers CERTE and CERTEn in Borj Cedria. Prof. Isenmann introduced to them the methodological approach of technology roadmapping with its principles and benefits for strategic research planning . He customized a technology roadmapping according to the very specific needs and requirements of each institution. In November 2017, both met with the General Directors of CBS in Sfax and IRA Médenine to figure out their fields of potential collaboration via a cooperation roadmap.

David Wewetzer during a workshop about startups with participants from CBS (Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax)

Mr. David Wewetzer of the University of Bremen, during his last visits in November 2017 in Tunisia, provided consultancy services to support company communication of four start-ups at CBS.



Workshop at the UNESCO IDUAI Celebration Day 2017 in Mauritius

The Innovation Capability Center will be present at the celebration event of the International Day of Universal Access to Information (IDUAI 2017) that takes place on the 28th of September in Port Luis, Mauritius during eLearning Africa, the 12th International Conference on ICT for development, education, and training. The event is hosted by the Government of the Republic of Mauritius with over 50 inspiring sessions, interactive discussions, highlight talks and keynote speeches by experts and innovators from all over Africa and beyond.

Workshop: “Knowledge societies and SMART Development”

The Innovation Capability Center is organizing on 29th September 2017 the session “Access to Space technology and knowledge for S.M.A.R.T. Development”. In this workshop, Mrs. Tanja Woronowisc, Head of Development at TZI Innovation Capability Center, will exchange ideas with other speakers about innovation as a process, good multilevel governance systems, anticipatory governance and participatory governance, build on knowledge strategies and innovation management in a multistakeholder environment that are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely). The aim is to support countries towards sustainable development based on best practices of information and knowledge transfer systems and lessons learn.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • how knowledge transfer can help further to create impact for the implementation of smart development.
  • Improved research and innovation management capacity

Confirmed partners in this session are the International Federation of Information Processing and the European Space Agency.



September 28th is the International Day of Universal Access to Information (also known as IDUAI). The official event takes place at UNESCO’s headquarters, with guests from all over the world, including academics, community leaders and journalists who are working towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs recognize the power of communication, freedom of expression and public access to information and ICT in development cooperation. UNESCO is committed to create inclusive knowledge societies and empowering local communities by increasing access and preservation.

According to UNESCO, the resolution of marking the 28th September as the “International Day for Internet Access to Information” gives the opportunity to more countries to adopt freedom to laws with access to information, policy development for multiculturalism in the cyberspace and to guarantee the integration of men and women with disabilities and ensuring that no one is left behind. The respect for Human Rights is a priority for all people of the world, without distinction of race, gender, nationality, language or religion. The importance of this day in Africa was also officially recognized by Resolution 222 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 50th ordinary session.



Innovation Capability Center attended the Smart Regions Conference in Helsinki

Dr. Michael Boronowsky represented the Innovation Capability Center on the second edition of the Smart Regions event, that took place on the 1-2 June in Helsinki and provided the opportunity to national and regional authorities to share experience of how smart specialisation has been implemented in their countries and regions. In 2014 smart specialisation strategies were introduced in the European Union´s Cohesion Policy as the basis for research and innovation investment. As a result, over 120 strategies have been established to shape investments from 2014-20.

The event provided the opportunity to share experience between projects supported by the European Structural Investment Funds and other EU programmes and policies in the areas of research, industrial policy, education and skills. It has been enabled project promoters to learn from experience in other regions and find cooperation partners across EU in areas such as energy, agri-food, industrial modernisation, cybersecurity, health and the maritime industry.

In addition, there was an opportunity to debate the future of innovation in the context of European regional development with senior representatives from the European institutions and national and regional governments. The conclusions of the discussion will be a contribution to the discussion on the future of Cohesion Policy post-2020

Recent activities of P2L2

Kick-off meeting Bremen (Germany) In June 2016, the project organised the kick-off meeting in Bremen, hosted by the three regional partners. The participating regions presented their policy instruments for analysis and improvement. Partners had the opportunity of meeting regional representatives responsible for the RIS3 strategy and meeting stakeholders from Bremen and neighbouring regions like Airbus DS, and Hamburg State Chancellery representatives. Participants also had the opportunity of visiting interesting installations like the Airbus New Materials Centre (ALM Additive Layer Manufacturing Plateau) and the Ariane Rocket Integration facilities.

Research meeting (Lithuania) In September 2016, a number of partners took part in a workshop to define the Limited Mapping methodology for analysing the process of definition, implementation and evaluation of RIS 3 strategies, with special attention to advanced materials.

Study visit Bremen (Germany) In September 2016, Bremen partners hosted a regional study visit. Following the fishbowl methodology, the participants exchanged knowledge and experiences on the Bremen policy instrument, specifically about the ECOMAT Centre for eco-efficient materials and technologies which are currently under construction.

In these two and a half days, the partners visited the Alfred Wegener Polar Research Institute (AWI) and met with representatives from the Bionic Lightweight Design and Functional Morphology Department, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM), the Carbon Fibre Composite Centre (CFK) and the research facilities of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR).

Study visit Rzeszow (Poland) In November 2016, the Rzeszow University of Technology, together with the Marshal Office of the Region Podkarpackie, hosted a study visit in Rzeszów.

Participants exchanged experiences on the Podkarpackie RIS 3 policy instrument with representatives of the regional ecosystems like the Aviation Valley Association and the Rzeszow Innovation Agency, one of the biggest clusters in Poland. The hosting partners offered a comprehensive overview of the best regional practices. The functioning Podkarpackie Innovation Council and the Aviation Valley explained their connection with the regional strategy for advanced materials.

The study visit benefitted from the participation of experts in R&D, innovation, and regional policy like Mr Krzysztof Mieszkowski from the Joint Research Centre in Seville.

Partners visited research and production facilities of important players of the aviation valley like Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky a Lockheed Martin Company, the laboratories of the Rzeszow Technical University, Podkarpackie Science and Technology Park “AEROPOLIS”.

Academia-Industry Interface Improvement – Absorptive and Desorptive Capacities

Academia Industry Collaboration for innovation

Photo based on Petr Kratochvil under Public Domain License (http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=72981&picture=hands-holding-jigsaw&large=1)


We, the Innovation Capability Center, are sub-titling our activities with the term “Improving the Academia/Science-Industry Interface” or “Improving the Science-Society Interface”. As we at least are talking about two different stakeholders and an interface between them, it is interesting to understand the diverse dimensions of this task. Think about an optimized flow of knowledge from a knowledge creator to a knowledge recipient that should lead to Innovation.

Absorptive Capacity

Photo by George Hodan under Public Domain License (http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=30522&picture=domino&large=1)

Photo by George Hodan under Public Domain License (http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=30522&picture=domino&large=1)

One dimension is the absorptive capacity of e.g. a company receiving knowledge form an university within a regional knowledge transfer. According to wikipedia absorptive capacity has been defined as “a firm’s ability to recognize the value of new information, assimilate it, and apply it to commercial ends“. In principle the responsibility and active part for improvement in this case is on the side of the company. In the context of the science-industry interface this could mean, that science is producing valuable new knowledge, and the better the absorptive capacity of the company gets, the commercial success of the company is increasing.  A provoking question in this context is:  “does this work for all kind of knowledge that is generated at the academic side of the Interface?“. In fact this question is very difficult to answer. On the long run several examples can be found how basic research results have become very relevant for commercialization within a period of several years or even decades. We personally don’t think that even the highest absorptive capacity will help to turn every scientific result into an economic success. There is no invariance of the “kind and quality” of a result to become an innovation. But, at least companies need the capability to understand the implication of new research results for their own innovation processes.

Desorptive Capacity

Photo by Daniele Pellati under Public Domain License (http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=47378&picture=e-mc2&large=1)

Photo by Daniele Pellati under Public Domain License (http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=47378&picture=e-mc2&large=1)

Let’s think about the second dimension, with the responsibility and active part in improving the interface is on the side of academia. It has to be something opposite to the “absorptive capacity” maybe a “desorptive capacity”. And indeed in 2006, Lichtenthaler was defining the term desorptive capacity “which refers to a firm’s ability to identify technology transfer opportunities and to transfer technology to the recipient“. In our example the “firm” will be the university and its capability to produce results according to recognized acquirer needs and to hand over the results to them. This definition has two aspects. First

  • the capacity to understand technology transfer opportunities, including e.g.
    • the identification of suitable own research results,
    • adaptation of the own research to external opportunities,
    • an approach to analyze recipient needs etc.


  • the capability to handover results to the recipient including e.g.
    • form and quality of the released technology,
    • contractual issues with suitable agreements,
    • networks of potential recipients, investors, etc.

One may argue, that a higher desorptive capacity is increasingly violating the humboldtian model of the freedom of research.  This problem can arise when e.g. a research organization has no defined strategy on how much adaptation of the own research to external opportunities is needed for the operation of the organization. And in addition: to perform a better analysis of own research results for transfer, or to support the recipient to absorb the results more easily is not per se in conflict with the nature of the university! Instruments, like e.g. the ISO/IEC 15504 standard based model innoSPICE, can help to support research organizations to increase their “desorptive” capacity.


Collaboration between Academia and Industry shoulkd lead to Innovation

Photo by McLac2000 under Public Domain License (https://pixabay.com/de/puzzel-zusammenarbeit-partnerschaft-1020221/)

The motivation to write this article is based on the observation, that absorptive capacity currently has become a buzzword. We think that this term is a very convenient one for academia, as changes are not requested from them in a first step. For sure there is a need to improve absorption of new knowledge on the side of the companies or society. But in our opinion it is a mistake to understand absorptive capacity decoupled from desorptive capacity. There should be a common interest from academia, industry and even society to improve both capacities in a good Balance.

Invited Talk, ISO/IEC 15504 innoSPICE – Innovation Capability at the Science – Industry Interface

headerDr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center at the University of Bremen was invited by the Verwertungsverbung Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (VVB-MV) to present the topic “ISO/IEC 15504 innoSPICE – Innovation Capability at the Science – Industry Interface. The presentation was part of the event “Competitive Advantages by Innovation Management” (german only). This event was the starting point for a series of events to the topic “Innovation as a driver for growth”. The event was organized by VVB MV, the ATI-Küste GmbH (Enterprise Europe Network) and the Patent und Normen-Zentrum der Universität Rostock.

IMG_1252The VVB-MV is the confederation of twelve universities and research institutes in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The office of the VVB acquires funding for the legal protection university’s own inventions, manages these funds and market the university inventions to the public.

The presentation of Dr. Boronowsky was touching the following topics:

  • The nature and challenges of the science – industry/society interface.
  • Insights to the innovation capability of Universities and research centers.
  • The relation of individual learning and organizational learning.
  • Reliability in action – process orientation and quality management in innovation, knowledge and technology transfer.
  • innoSPICE as a tool to manage and to support the continuous improvement of the innovation capability.

Dr. Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center is presenting the specific challenges at the academia – industry interface.

The several practical examples of typical challenges in the technology transfer process sounded very familiar to parts of the audience. The presentation was stressing the fact, that a productive collaboration between university and industry has to be based on professional management principles. Up to now the principle of hope is to often the foundation of a collaboration in this field. But to be a capable player within the innovation cycle requires professional and reliable acting. innoSPICE was introduced as one important management tool, that helps universities and research centers to reflect on the own capabilities in a structured and standardized way. There is a urgent need to support organizational learning in this area. So the mere improvement of individual skills is not sufficient enough, as organizational learning is much more than the sum of the individual competences. To improve the organizational capability it is also important to improve the structure and the processes of an organization. Being a reliable partner within the science industry interface requires a continuous reflection of the own acting. The ISO/IEC 15504 standard based model innoSPICE is supporting this reflection, using principles that have been successfully applied in e.g. software development industry since more than 25 years.

Chancen & Gefahren gewerblicher Schutzrechte - Eine Einführung in die Rechtsgrundlagen PA Stefan Rieke, SCHNICK & GARRELS Patentanwälte, Rostock

Chancen & Gefahren gewerblicher Schutzrechte – Eine Einführung in die Rechtsgrundlagen PA Stefan Rieke, SCHNICK & GARRELS Patentanwälte, Rostock

Even if the presentation was very dense and speedy – there was a very active and positive discussion at the end of the presentation. Several participants were agreeing to the proposed challenges and the need for more reliable structures and quality management also in this area. Most obvious the topic is very relevant for people with an interest to improve the own performance in the knowledge and technology transfer process.

All presentation given during this event were well selected and informative. All in all, it was a successful start of this planned series of events. IMG_1832

First RAMSES workshop at Cairo University


A part of the RAMSES team at Cairo University and the trainers Tanja and Michael from University of Bremen

On 23.3.2015-2.4.2015 the first RAMSES project workshop started at Cairo University CU). Tanja Woronowicz and Dr. Michael Boronowsky from the Innovation Capability Center of TZI at University Bremen started the innoSPICE training. Cairo University nominated participants from three different departments, Science, Nursing and Dentistry under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ewiss. The group of trainees was about 13 people from management and quality assurance from CU. To address the strong interest of CU in setting up an innoSPICE Hub and training center the RAMSES project team decided to increase the specific training on innoSPICE and to train much more innoSPICE experts in the framework of the RAMSES project than initially planned. Goal is to educate the appropriate resources at CU to perform continuous improvement regarding innovation, knowledge- and technology transfer processes of university-, faculty- and department management. A second goal is to prepare the establishment of an innoSPICE hub to offer services within Egypt and the Arab world and training related to quality assurance in these fields.


The training started with a general introduction to the complex role of a university in a regional (or national) innovation system and the importance of triple helix approaches at the first day. This introduction also provided the base to the process oriented quality assurance standard ISO/IEC 15504 SPICE and motivated the standard based model innoSPICE for its application in universities. Due to the interest in this topic there were very active discussions with the participants and first links were taken to the current situation at CU.

IMG_1017The second day started with a detailed introduction to the RAMSES project presenting project goals and the first year planning. The rest of the training days were dedicated to the innoSPICE methodology. The first part was oriented towards the structure of the process reference model and the principles of a capability assessment. The second part provided a rough overview of the different processes in the innoSPICE model. After this general introduction to innoSPICE the trainer team started to present the processes in detail. All presentations were accompanied by very active discussions regarding the current situation at CU and way to improve these processes. This was helpful for the group to increase their confidence in these topics and surely was a motivation to learn more about these new approaches in quality management. The trainer team was continuously taking care to keep the progress in the training effective. They were refocusing the discussions several times, as discussions regarding concrete improvement actions are planned later in the project.IMG_1016 (1) So, during these workshop days the innoSPICE processes Basic Science Knowledge Creation, Technology Transfer Concept and Tendering were presented and discussed. Even if this workshop was the first contact of the trainees with the innoSPICE process reference model it became quite obvious, that the RAMSES project is on a good track.

As the workshop was divided by a weekend there was a great opportunity to have some visits in the fantastic historic parts of Egyptian culture. With great support of CU we had a very interesting and impressive weekend. And most important a very motivating start of the RAMSES project!