Value creation for Norwegian companies in the EU market
Horizon 2020 is the EU’s way of innovation and Norway has taken a clear leadership role in priority programmes such as Oceans and Climate
Building on our industry’s world-class competence we believe that the NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster members can capitalise more on this opportunity for value creation within climate-smart food. Concrete funding opportunities include sustainable feedstock and new markets for bio-based products, as well as new technologies such as RAS and IMTA, promoting new and more efficient ways of production. The NCE Seafood Innovation team is here to help!
The biggest challenges we have discovered so far are misperceptions around H2020 itself: “too bureaucratic”, “too research-focused”, “too little IPR protection”, “Norway is not an EU member, why will anyone bother?”. In the course of 2017 we hope to meet with as many of you to discuss how you can use H2020 as a tool for value creation, new market exploration and business development. We also invite you to take part in our monthly H2020 seminars taking you through concrete funding opportunities, starting on 22 February 2017 with a focus on Blue Growth.
H2020 for value creation
Industry-led programmes such as Leadership in Industrial and Enabling Technologies (LEIT), the SME Instrument and Access to Risk Finance offer a low-threshold, bottom-up approach to collaborative, international projects and Norwegian partners are sought after for their competence. Other relevant programmes include the more top-down approach to collaborative, international projects offered by Societal Challenges such as Climate and Blue Growth.
The upside of LEIT is that Norwegian partners with world-class competence can very quickly build a leading position in a new value chain or new market through using existing European and international networks and partners. The upside of Societal Challenges is that they offer a concrete common challenge which makes it easy to build new networks from different sectors, explore new markets and learn about new technologies and new business models through a concrete project. They are typically bigger, collaborative projects won by the top teams (consortia). They typically include big companies such as Bosch, Sanofi, BMW, Philips, Airbus, Siemens and Europe’s most innovative SMEs. Past participants often find that they put a lot of effort finding the right consortia in the beginning but barely any after, as the network effects mean that the opportunities come and find you.
For collaborative projects the lead time from initial discussions with partners to signing a grant agreement is less than a year and typical project duration is about 3 years. This may not be your definition of “very quickly” but consider this: how long would it take you to enter the French market alone, build relevant networks and take a good position in the market? Through a collaborative project you can get all this at lower risk and access many European markets simultaneously, since the EU typically covers about 75% of project costs and the minimum amount of available funding is € 5 million.
The SME Instrument is also known as the Champions League of SMEs in Europe. With 4% success rate it really is relevant for very ambitious SMEs with a clear business case for the EU market. Funding occurs in two stages: €50,000 for Phase 1 to use towards building a solid business model and up to €2,5 million in Phase 2 to scale-up. There has been a lot of criticism around the application writing process which is why as of 2018 the process will reflect more that of a typical venture capital screening process which may include SMEs being invited to Brussels to pitch before they are invited to submit their 10-page proposal.
We will discuss these issues in our H2020 seminar on 22 February and also through one to one meetings with NCE Seafood members.
IPR in H2020 projects
As a common principle, collaborative projects in H2020 bring partners with different business mind-sets and interests around a table. Expectations and strategies regarding the commercial use of project results are driven by the value and commerciality potential of IP generated in the projects as well as the overall business strategy of each partner. To succeed you should approach your IPR strategy as you would for any other commercial deal i.e. be very clear over what it is, what you are willing to share and what you are not willing to share before you go into a project.
It is best practice to exchange information within the consortium about the different IPR strategies and channels at a very early stage of the project. SMEs have a bigger challenge finding proper internal management structures and capacities to turn IP into business which is why they are supported by professional networks such as the European IPR Helpdesk and the Enterprise Europe Network .
At the H2020 seminar Steensrup Stordrange who advise the BTO on IPR will be joining to discuss IPR matters with you.