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In 2010 the Commission adopted a Communication on Innovation Union which represents the Commission's strategy on Innovation. The Innovation Union plan contains over 30 commitments to inter alia make the European Union into a world-class science performer, remove obstacles to innovation and revolutionize the way public and private sectors work together. Of the various action points in the Innovation Union, commitment n° 21 addresses collaboration and knowledge transfer as follows:

"The Commission will facilitate effective collaborative research and knowledge transfer within the research Framework Programmes and beyond. It will work with stakeholders to develop a set of model consortium agreements with options ranging from traditional approaches to protect IP through to more open ones. Mechanisms are also needed to further strengthen knowledge transfer offices in public research organisations, in particular through trans-national collaboration".

The Commission Recommendation on the management of intellectual property in knowledge transfer and Code of Practice for universities and other public research organisations (C(2008)1329) provides guidance. Generating excellent research results and optimal exploitation of those research results often require effective knowledge transfer which – sometimes – is lacking in practice. It is critical that EU research and innovation funding provides a leading example to Member States in best practice for the management of intellectual property in research.

Against this background, the IU21KT Study’s key objectives are to develop model agreements and to contribute to strengthening knowledge transfer offices.