DAAD RAMSES

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.

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

P2L2 Newsletter

The Public Policy Living Lab (P2L2) project supports countries and regions invested in the field of advanced materials by introducing or improving local policy to support innovation in this field.

P2L2’s main aim is to improve policy instruments by supporting innovation ecosystems of advanced materials; supporting the implementation and evaluation of the Smart Specialization Strategies (RIS3), and coordinating regional policies between sectors to facilitate a real innovation ecosystem beyond administrative regional boundaries.

What you might have missed

Some of our recently concluded activities include:

Study visit Vilnius (Lithuania) 4th-6th April 2017

On the first week of April, the Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Centre (MOSTA) together with the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) hosted a regional study visit. Participants had the opportunity of analyzing the main elements of the Lithuanian ecosystem and meeting important players responsible for the definition, implementation and review of the RIS3.

During the study visit in Vilnius, the project partners also visited some local companies, institutes and research centers such as:

EKSPLA, a manufacturer of lasers, laser systems and laser components for R&D and industrial applications;

Elinta, a company specialized in trading in automation elements, industry automation, electric vehicles, charging points, trading in measurement instruments, production of computer vision systems, electric drives for bicycles;

National innovation and entrepreneurship center (NIVC), an institute devoted to implement the highest standards of innovation development in all science and business cooperation fields at national and international level. Main services: innovation management, technology transfer, intellectual property management, research and development;

Altechna, a supplier of laser-related products and solutions, specialized in the following key fields of activity: laser-related components, distribution of well-known photonics industry brands in local markets; R&D solutions in laser optics; manufacturing of laser-related components;

Center for Physical Sciences and Technology (FTMC), the largest scientific research institution in Lithuania carrying out a fundamental research and technological development works in scientific fields of laser technologies, optoelectronics, nuclear physics, organic chemistry, bio and nanotechnologies, electrochemical material science, functional materials, electronic etc.

 

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)

Introduction

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.

and

  • 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.

Conclusion

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.