2 - Knowledge transfer between Universities and Business

2.4 - Promoting participation in Open Innovation projects


Studies by the OECD show that Companies involved in Open Innovation projects are more inventive than those which are not. Open Innovation is related to the methodology used in the collaborative Innovation process, which allows Companies to access knowledge and ideas beyond those created internally, providing them with unique competitive benefits. In view of the advantages offered by these processes, a number of governments are developing tools to actively promote open collaboration between Companies and Universities. Open collaboration is based on three main concepts: equality, whereby everyone can contribute; meritocracy, whereby contributions are valued in terms of the principles of transparency and quality; and self-management, whereby there are no hierarchies or imposed decisions and the teams themselves determine how to proceed.

All entities (Companies or Universities) can start open collaborative projects, either within an organisation itself by using its own employees, between its various customers/suppliers, or more broadly, with other Universities/Companies. These projects are characterised by the nature of their communities (working groups which are created and dismantled dynamically and simply to implement each project in a voluntary manner).


SMART Innovation Centre (USA)

The SMART Innovation Centre (Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research & Technology) administers a grant programme which allows professors and students to accelerate the commercialisation of their innovations. The Innovation Centre creates a positive environment for developmental entrepreneurship based on a model created by the Deshpande Centre which has been modified to suit the existing ecosystem in Singapore, and offers grants for innovative projects worth up to $250,000. SMART provides excellent laboratory facilities for innovation to a wide community of professors and students, whilst also offering a series of entrepreneurial educational programmes.

CIFRE PhP thesis (France)

The Industrial Research Training Convention (CIFRE) was established in 1981 by the French Government to increase research activity in the country’s business community. Its essential aim is to promote the mobility of students and researchers, thereby permitting them to complete their doctoral research work in the private sector. To do so it grants financial assistance to Companies interested in hiring doctorate students working in public laboratories, in order to reinforce their technological expertise. The project is co-financed by EU structural funds (ERDF) and since its inception it has permitted 12,000 students to complete their doctorates. By 2010 some 4,500 agreements had been signed with different Companies.

Agence Nationale de la Recherche -ANR- (France)

Its mission is to speed the dynamics of French research and innovation, and increase its flexibility. The ANR enhances research efforts on important economic and social issues, whilst promoting interaction between university researchers and Companies, strengthening public-private partnerships and developing international relationships.

Credit d’Impôt Recherche (France)

This programme, funded by the French government, offers partial grants to research initiatives developed by Companies. It grants awards to those Companies which share research activities with public laboratories.

Agencias de valorización (France)

Technology transfer offices for Universities and Companies which also provide support to start-ups.

Implementation process

Agents required for implementation

Companies can begin open collaboration projects either by using their own structure and resources – involving their employees – or on a larger scale by creating strong Innovation communities to apply for grants.

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  1. Building Networks of Software Communities in a Large Corporation.
  2. Escaped from the Lab: Innovation Practices in Large Organizations.
  3. Learning from Wikipedia: Open Collaboration within Corporation.
  4. Responsible partnering: A guide to better practices for collaborative research between science and industry. EIRMA, EUA, EARTO, PRO TON. Handbook for responsible partnering.
  5. The Economic Motivation of Open Source Software: Stakeholder Perspectives.
  6. http://smart.mit.edu/ - SMART.
  7. http://www.agence-nationale-recherche.fr/ - French Government National Research Agency.
  8. http://cordis.europa.eu/erawatch/index.cfm?fuseaction=prog.document&uuid=7D87C08F-BBDF-5266-4531C24182381AC7 CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service) - European Union.