An introduction to the ‘Valorisation Synthesis Training Investigation Report’

As a part of the first research phase of the STEM Valorise project, we conducted the ‘Valorisation Synthesis Training Investigation Report’ and presented our 5-month long work on the status of valorisation of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) research data in Europe.

In particular, the investigation report provides a comprehensive understanding of the need for valorisation and research-driven entrepreneurship training for 1st stage STEM researchers, as well as defining the term ‘valorisation of research results’, including a description of the process, stakeholders involved, general barriers and drivers, and supporting mechanism for valorisation.

The report also explains specificities about the STEM research valorisation process when compared to social sciences and humanities (SSH). This helps our understanding of what valorisation and research-driven entrepreneurship skills and knowledge are needed for STEM researchers.

Finally, it sheds light on the learning frameworks for the valorisation of STEM research. The reports greatest contribution is that it provides a short overview of the status quo of STEM research valorisation in Turkey, the Netherlands, Ireland, and France, and additionally the status quo of STEM valorisation in the project partner institutions (ITU, UIIN, MTU and IMTBS).

In the attempt to fill the gaps in the research available on STEM valorisation and to contribute to the literature on STEM valorisation, we used a mixed research methods approach to obtain the results presented in the investigation report. First, we conducted an extensive literature review of relevant scientific and grey literature on STEM valorisation, with the aim to: define what it means to valorise research results; understand the differences between STEM and SSH valorisation; map and analyse the existing training models and learning frameworks for STEM valorisation; and understand the knowledge, skill needs and attitudes of STEM researchers needed for valorisation. In the following phase, we conducted 40 semi-structured interviews, with experienced STEM researchers and Technology/Knowledge Transfer experts. Finally, we collected 20 case studies of successful education and training programmes on valorisation and entrepreneurship in the STEM field offered by various institutions. These programmes cover traditional and non-traditional educational activities that support the valorisation of STEM research and enhance the impact of STEM research results. The final report includes recommendations for the development of a successful STEM valorisation training/entrepreneurship training programme to enhance STEM research valorisation in Europe.

Some of the key milestones of the ‘Valorisation Synthesis Training Investigation Report’ are:

  • The valorisation of research results is a wide concept
    • In comparison to other terms that are often used as synonyms for valorisation (e.g. commercialisation, academic entrepreneurship, innovation, knowledge transfer and technology transfer) valorisation is a wider concept. It encompasses both social and economic value and is an interactive process of knowledge utilisation that involves number of different stakeholders. Valorisation can be used to describe any activity resulting in outcomes of scientific knowledge that add value beyond the scientific domain, and/or make research results easily accessible to wider society.
  • The valorisation of research results is a process of interaction
    • Valorisation is a process between different actors with an aim of creating social benefits from knowledge. A process that begins when research-based data are disseminated to society or practically applied to improve or to develop new products, processes, and services in order to create evident, measurable or observable impact beyond the academic context.
  • STEM valorisation is more straightforward
    • STEM valorisation is mainly (1) focused on demonstrating quantifiable, instrumental impacts of research through tangible products, (2) supported through commercialisation activities, (3) promoted through results involving business models, and (4) producing economic value.

  • Valorisation includes broad list of stakeholders
    • The main stakeholders involved in STEM valorisation are (1) knowledge providers (universities, academics, institutes, laboratories, university management, students and senior researchers), (2) beneficiaries (business, industry, national-regional-local level authorities (ministries, agencies, other), schools and other educational institutions, hospitals, museums, civil society organisations and citizens, (3) intermediary structures (knowledge transfer offices (KTOs), technology transfer offices (TTOs), business incubators and science parks, research institutes, policy development departments etc.), and (4) others (alumni students’ associations and alumni networks);

  • The Valorisation process is multi-stage, interactive and innovative process.
    • It starts with discovering ideas, exploring their potential application, and ending with outcomes that are tangible and a practical application of research;
  • Barriers to STEM valorisation are important
    • Barriers are fundamental in the STEM valorisation process. The following barriers may exist: research barriers, capacity research barriers, financial barriers, regulatory barriers, collaboration, marketing, product placement and institutional barriers;
  • Drivers to STEM valorisation are sometimes decisive
    • Drivers to STEM valorisation are, among others, relationship drivers, access drivers, research drivers and university/institution mission drivers.

Co-autored by Nina Branković and Medisa Fočić

Featured image by STEM Valorise project team

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