Challenges for large corporations, SMEs and entrepreneurs.
Technological breakthroughs are necessary but insufficient to create innovation, competitiveness and economic impact. In delivering impactful innovation, entrepreneurship, business strategy, technology scale-up and initial market, validation plays as crucial a role as any research breakthrough. Europe has traditionally been weaker in the non-R&D aspects of innovation, whether as a corporate, SME (small and medium enterprise) or start-up level. In large corporations, the lack of vertical integration, the gap between the maturity of emerging technologies and the maturity required by corporate business units, and IPR complexity combine to make the rapid roll-out of emerging technologies increasingly difficult.
The Graphene Flagship takes considerable steps to promote industry engagement and create a corporate route-to-market within Europe for emerging technologies. The Graphene Flagship invited European industry experts to co-shape the technology and product roadmap, as well as the research agenda of various work packages. Two examples are the Flexible Electronic and Production WPs, which are crucial in demonstrating the economic impact of Graphene Flagship and paving the road to mass-market applications, which are led by industry representatives.
Overall, the most direct route to technology transfer is to utilize the expertise and contacts of the companies that participate in the Graphene Flagship, and are best informed about the business opportunities created by partners of the platform. The technology transfer actions are, however, not limited to existing industrial partners, but include as important elements, industrial workshops on a number of specific topics as detailed below.
Direct engagement of SMEs has been made a priority of Graphene Flagship from the start. The consortium already includes some very promising European SMEs (e.g. Graphenea). The Graphene Flagship will create inclusive innovation mechanisms and lower the barriers to participation for a large base of innovative SMEs across Europe. IPR management and technology promotion, together with agile collaborative initiatives tailored for the needs of SMEs are some of the novel measures currently being considered.
To promote entrepreneurship, the Graphene Flagship adopts of three-pronged strategy:
- Graphene Flagship encourages business and entrepreneurial training among the scientists directly involved in the WPs, together with the promotion of a more risk-taking culture;
- Through a combination of efficient IPR management and technology promotion, Graphene Flagship attracts talented entrepreneurs to the opportunities created by Graphene Flagship science and technology advancements;
- Graphene Flagship explores the possibility of promoting the creation of a dedicated seed investment fund that could provide capital and management expertise to start-up companies, which are willing to commercialize selected graphene technologies.
02 March 2018 14:32