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Out of the lab EFFECTs

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“Human progress has always been driven by

 a sense of adventure and unconventional thinking
Andre Geim

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For 30 years, researchers funded by the European Union have been working on Future and Emerging Technologies. We call it FET, one of the first dedicated European research programmes in the world that supports dreams and visionary thinking. With this mission it has planted the seeds for many of the exciting technologies we see today.

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Your target audiences are not homogeneous: they have different interests, needs and values. Select them among all relevant stakeholders (researchers, industries, investors, policy makers, citizens) and the general public. Some will be more affected by the outcomes of your research, others may indirectly benefit in the long term. Each can be approached with different messages, tone of voice, formats and channels.

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Developing a promising result, proof-of-concept or a radical innovation originating from a FET project needs support on the journey the from lab to end-user

•  Events can aggregate different sets of stakeholders around the FET themes
•  A business-related mindset is necessary to build a research and innovation ecosystem around a theme
•  The Technology Readiness Level and the maturity of the project is a major factor when considering how to access exploitable opportunities within these events
•  Trade fairs and specific industry events can be used to share results, and connect with networks to explore future development paths
•  Business Innovation Centres’ ecosystems can enhance opportunities for collaboration, networking and knowledge transfer

Read a summary of the first EFFECT and FET2RIN Meet & Match event.

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Despite the high initial risk, the long-term impact of FET projects can be enormous: these new technologies can become the core for new high-growth SMEs, start-ups and novel industries. They can offer radically new ways of tackling societal challenges, drawing on collaboration and networks of young researchers and key actors across technological fields.

Business coaching and mentoring can form the basis to utilise promising FET results and identify relevant business needs.

The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot provides continuous support for this market-creating innovation. SMEs participating in FET could access different services aiming to support the exploitation of FET results that have already received feedback on where their projects can be strengthened. These services are mainly represented by technology patenting, defining a more structured market approach strategy, and designing a new organisational model to improve Innovation Management Capacity.

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Direct engagement with your target audiences is necessary to foster innovative thinking, new practices and collaborations. It is needed to increase their understanding acceptance and support of the breakthrough ideas and disruptive technologies that may drastically change our world in future.

Effective public engagement is more than just meeting an audience and communicating research. It is a two-way communication, with the researchers listening to and learning from participants and vice-versa. There are various ways to do this: off-line through events, print publications and participatory workshops, or online via digital news and social media.

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Since 2005, the European Researchers’ Night takes place all over Europe every year on the last Friday of the month of September. It is organised by the European Union and aims to bring scientists and society in contact with each other in an informal way. This is done by organising public science outreach events in hundreds of European cities, giving researchers the opportunity to showcase their investigation to non-technical audiences in an easy-to-understand way. In 2018 European Researchers’ Night involved more than 340 cities ~22,000 researchers and more than 1 million visitors.

Scientists have a wide range of outreach activities to choose from to thrill and engage their spectators. Examples vary from hands-on experiments to guided tours to the labs, science cafés, exhibitions and debates.

More info on how to apply to the EU Researchers’ Night

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Your project’s social media channels will help you boost your project’s visibility and engage with your online community. The main challenge on social media is to keep your community interested and engaged with your research and objectives. Keep your channels alive by posting frequent news about your project, results and events. Use the right keywords about your project, research area and FET to track and engage with online conversations. Consider using dedicated eye-catching visual formats that are powerful tools to capture public attention.

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Promoting innovation by fostering disruptive technologies and breakthrough research can power Europe’s economy for decades, providing the continent with a competitive edge in an increasingly challenging market.

The Horizon 2020 FET programme, with its unique combination of multidisciplinary collaborations, long-term vision, novel technologies, disruptive innovation and scientific excellence is particularly well-suited to achieve this objective.

The identification of new opportunities and directions for interdisciplinary research towards new and visionary technologies should be at the focus of FET research and innovation ecosystems, providing data and information to policy makers to support political responses to global challenges.

Main takeaways from the OBSERVE project achievements


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Freedom in science and innovation is a crucial asset for the progress of Europe. Through open participation from all disciplines, its bottom-up approach and flexible programme management, FET is a powerhouse for breakthrough technologies and paradigm-changing ideas, creating new generations of innovators in Europe.

FET offers unique opportunities to start-ups and high-tech SMEs to collaborate with excellent research communities in high-risk projects, delivering disruptive technologies that may change the world’s future.

The collaborative dimension in FET is a basis to foster technological innovation and future social impacts. It is therefore essential to define collaboration as the major asset capable of contributing to market-creating technologies and leading R&I capacity at a European and global scale.

Summary of the key recommendations from ‘The FET Programme towards 2030’ event, organised by the EFFECT project at the European Parliament, on March 7, 2018



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Support from other ecosystems directly managed by the regions can play a significant role in supporting the future deployment of FET projects’ results, creating competitive advantages at the local level.

Innovation hubs represent a good example of collaboration platforms bringing together academia, public authorities and industry.

Improved communication and knowledge transfer of FET projects’ results at regional level needs to be supported to identify innovation potential.

Collaboration and alliances between regions sharing the same smart specialisation strategies can promote joint investments to support research results with potential innovative applications in specific sectors.

Summary of the key recommendations from the co-design workshop “FET innovation ecosystems: regional support for a European impact” organized by the EFFECT project with European Regional Representatives, Brussels, October 25, 2018


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