The European Commission has released a new communication proposing voluntary guidelines to help universities improve their links with industry and better exploit publicly funded R&D. Compared to North America; the average university in Europe generates far fewer inventions and patents. This claimed to be largely due to a less systematic management of knowledge and intellectual property by European universities. However, the importance of knowledge transfer in boosting competitiveness and effectiveness of public research is increasingly recognised by Member States,
and is reflected in their National Reform Programmes developed under the Lisbon strategy.
The guidelines of this communication are part of a public consultation launched last year on existing knowledge transfer system in Europe
, and aim to highlight good practice regarding the management and transfer of knowledge and intellectual property. This constitutes a starting point for discussion on creating a common European framework for knowledge transfer. Within the communication, research institutions-SME (small-medium enterprises) interaction, bench-marking innovation related activities, clarification of state-aid rules for research institutions, encouraging innovation through structural and cohesion funds, and the EIT (European Institute of Technology) are all mentioned as important European aspects of transfer of knowledge.