Teagasc hosted the 12th Plenary Meeting of the European Technology Transfer Offices Circle, at Ashtown, Dublin on Thursday, 4 July, and Friday, 5 July. It was attended by over 60 senior representatives of the 30 largest research and technology organisations in Europe, together with representatives from different services of the European Commission.
The meeting was organised by the European TTO CIRCLE, a network developed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre to promote collaboration on the transfer of technologies from research to business and society. This important network has gathered over 200,000 researchers, 35,000 patents, 5,000 software and 4,000 start-ups in Europe since it was set up.
The meeting dealt with critical issues for the future of European research and technology development, starting with new trends and instruments to promote knowledge transfer in the food and agricultural sector, how to react to the growing role of China in research, technology and IPR, open Innovation and corporate venture, the simplification of the rules of State Aid in research, and the revision of the 2008 EU recommendations on knowledge transfer.
The meeting was also an opportunity for the participants to learn about the organisation of technology transfer in Ireland with different governmental organisations actively promoting technology transfer, in particular, Knowledge Transfer Ireland, and the Guinness Enterprise Centre providing an innovation hub for several universities in the country.
Declan Troy, Assistant Director of Research in Teagasc, opened the proceedings saying: ”Teagasc is delighted to host such a prestigious meeting with senior decision makers across the EU attending”. He stressed the importance of effective technology transfer channels from public research programmes. He outlined how Teagasc engages with its stakeholders, particularly its industry clients, through its innovative Gateways programme.
Giancarlo Caratti, Head of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer at the European Commission, and Chair of the TTO Circle said: “The network brings together the major public research organisations in order to share best practices, knowledge and expertise, perform joint activities and develop a common approach towards international standards for the professionalization of technology transfer”.
Wim Haentjens, Directorate-General Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission, outlined many of the developments coming in Horizon Europe, the large scale EU-wide funding programme, to support and fund knowledge-based agriculture within the revised EU Common Agriculture Policy currently under negotiation.
Alan Barrell, Director of Studies at Cambridge Innovation Academy, imparted his long experience of successfully working with Chinese researchers and companies and seeing the evolution of a relationship from pure tuition to true collaboration as evidenced by large investments by Chinese entities in innovation in the Cambridge area. He emphasised that China has much Intellectual Property (IP) of its own.
Martin Raditsch, President of ASTP Proton, outlined the deep links and synergies between ASTP Proton and the TTO Circle. He promoted the need to engage deeply in societal challenges in tandem with the traditional technology transfer objectives of commercial and employment development.
Teagasc’s Head of Technology Transfer, Sean Mulvany, outlined the importance of technology transfer from non-profit research performing organisations as “aiming to improve and increase socioeconomic activity through licensing our Intellectual Property so that it is brought to market in a way that realises social and economic potential, aiding the new company formation that will give rise to high-value jobs in communities across the country and making the agritech and agri-food sectors in Ireland more attractive for investment. At this year’s Plenary Meeting, there was an amazing opportunity to share knowledge and experience in meeting these aims.”
Closing the final session of the Plenary Meeting, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle, outlined the deep and enduring commitment Teagasc has to conduct world-class excellent applied research, focussed on delivering return for taxpayer support through meeting the needs of the consumer, society and industry needs in the areas of food, agriculture and the environment.
Commenting on lessons learned in deriving impact on how best to transfer technology, Professor Boyle said: “We need to engage deeply with the consumer, farmers, companies and policymakers to ensure the ongoing relevance of the research we do to the needs of society. Furthermore, we must ensure every effort is made to get our research out of the organisation and into the hands of those who can bring it into use and deploy it for best benefit, whether that is a company or a farmer.”
Delegates were given a tour of Teagasc Ashtown’s research capability including its Prepared Consumer Food Centre and its Meat Innovation Facility.