Innovation management in Horizon Europe – from planning to implementation
8th June 2023 at 7:00 am
Research and innovation (R&I) projects under Horizon Europe are key to delivering new knowledge and results for future commercial and non-commercial exploitation by universities, companies and other project participants. However, based on our many years of experience at accelopment in European R&I projects, a structured approach to innovation management is still not a reality or standard practice in these initiatives. To untap the potential of newly generated knowledge and intellectual property, we would like to provide some guidance on how to deal with innovation management in the proposal and its assessment at the end of a project`s lifetime.
In our first blog in this series on innovation management and exploitation in EU-funded projects, we covered the requirements and obligations of the European Commission that are aiming to ensure that research results are turned into benefits for society. In this episode, we will explore some of the cornerstones of the first part of our accelINNO® innovation management service by using AI-Mind, one of the projects we are involved in, as an example. Read below the infographic on how Jeanette Müller and Michael Hönger, Innovation Managers in several Horizon projects, are supporting our partners on their journey from expected project results to the exploitation of valuable outcomes.
About AI-Mind, an innovative solution for early detection of dementia
Coordinated by the University Hospital of Oslo, the AI-Mind project aims to deliver two AI-based digital tools that will be integrated into a cloud-based diagnostic support platform. These two tools will process routinely collected data in an innovative way, providing an easy-to-implement service for health professionals and shortening the time to a diagnosis of dementia to a week. Would you like to follow the project’s progress? Look at the website AI-Mind.eu or subscribe to the Twitter and LinkedIn channels for regular updates by Joanna Plesniak, our communication expert in this project and WP DISCO leader.
Professional innovation management contributes strongly to the third evaluation criteria of the funding proposal. Additionally, the “Impact must be addressed in all parts of the proposal and all stages of the project – as well as beyond”. Therefore, we have made use of our toolbox to collect expected key results, define a preliminary IP and exploitation strategy and incorporate both a SWOT and PESTEL analysis as well as the innovation management approach itself in the proposal. We were delighted that these measures were evaluated positively and commented on by proposal reviewers.
Preparatory measures – establishing procedures and gathering information
Driven by the positive spirit caused by the proposal evaluation, it was time to get started on the project. First, we collected the available information in our central tool to maintain their actuality. We added more details to each expected result and analysis and complemented them with additional resources such as a stakeholder map. Close collaboration with the members of the dissemination and communication work package (WP DISCO) as well as the coordination team was and remains key to making the most out of the available resources and expertise in the consortium.
First actions – getting started with the official kick-off for accelINNO®
After the preparation and establishment, it was now time to reveal the collected resources and high-level plans to the consortium in a first workshop. Representatives of all beneficiaries were invited to discuss needs and opportunities on both, the project as well as the individual level. The fruitful discussion reassured the strong interest of all partners to generate impact with their research results and outcomes and resulted in concrete action points – including an informative workshop on innovation management and related EC requirements.
Full picture – identifying and making use of opportunities on the project level
After the kick-off, the Innovation Manager’s role shifted towards identifying opportunities to support the partners on their journey through the project. This included the workshop on Innovation Management with an emphasis on identifying potentially exploitable project outcomes. Besides the workshop, a dedicated committee to gather ideas and find opportunities for each result got established and the feasibility of the preliminary IP strategy got assessed via the IP Scan support service. The beneficial cooperation with the WP DISCO continued as well by sharing efforts for the creation of a research landscape.
Full coverage – benefitting from the consortium for individual outcomes
The establishment of the innovation committee offered the unique opportunity to benefit from the diverse expertise within the consortium to develop promising pathways beyond the project`s scope and duration. It is not limited to the main project outcomes or key results and gives each beneficiary the opportunity to discuss ideas, opportunities and challenges within the committee.
Key results – paving the way for their exploitation
The key results of the project (i.e., the ones that contribute most to the expected outcomes of the call) receive “special treatment” after the initial evaluation in the committee through the creation of a detailed exploitation plan. The activities used for its creation depend on the type and maturity of the result and range from funding advice such as accelopments strategic grant planning to business modelling.
How can accelopment support you in managing your project innovations and exploitation activities?
Building upon our experience in the management, communication and dissemination of European R&I projects, we at accelopment have elaborated accelINNO®, an innovation management system consisting of processes and tools to assist our project partners in the collection and assessment of project results as well as the development of roadmaps for exploitation. We have been able to develop and apply accelINNO® in several H2020 projects such as AI-Mind where Jeanette, our CEO, is the Innovation Manager, and are currently using the toolbox in the first Horizon Europe projects.
If you are interested to learn more about distinguishing key results from additional results and how the already conducted basic assessments and discussions evolve into a detailed exploitation plan, stay tuned for the final episode of our series and subscribe to our blog! Our innovation management and exploitation experts Michael Hönger and Robin Vanneste regularly publish blog posts on exploitation. Do you have specific questions or are interested in their support? Do not hesitate to get in touch!
 Bridge2HE Annotated RIA/IA Template; Agenzia per la Promozione della Recerca Europea, November 2022.
 Addressing Impact and Innovation in EU funded Projects; European IP Helpdesk, March 2023.