PRIORITY TOPICS 2017 

The below list refers to the April '17 - September '17 session.

Topic Note / details
1/ Analysis of Japanese corporate demand for Technology Transfer from the EU.

Goal: to support European research organizations and SMEs identify the most appealing technologies for Japanese companies interested in licensing opportunities from Europe.

Work to perform:

1) Identify, and analyze the main categories of technologies that Japanese companies are interested in terms of licensing opportunities from foreign partners. This task will require a combination of desk activity and interviews with corporate Japanese stakeholders.

2) At the request of European organizations, follow up in order to identify potential partners and liaise with Japanese counterparts to initiate and develop contacts as appropriate also by leveraging the information acquired through the initial interview and desk work phase. Develop new contacts as necessary. In doing so, the candidate's research shall support the activities of the existing EU-Japan Technology Transfer Helpdesk (www.eu-jp-tthelpdesk.eu) in the organization of seminars, webinars, webcasts, the promotion of licensable technologies, etc .

3) Produce an actionable report with concrete recommendations on licensing/tech transfer opportunities for managers of European organizations (corporations/academia) with an interest to license out their technologies to Japanese partners.

Desired MINERVA candidate profile: the position requires a candidate with a good understanding of licensing, technology transfer, innovation processes. The ideal candidate will need to combine English language skills with some technology transfer background as well a good communication and presentation skills, in the context of facilitating partnerships between the EU and Japan. Knowledge of the Japanese language would be a strong plus only if spoken at a business level.

2/ Innovation and research opportunities with Japan: Analysis on the potential for EU research organizations and companies to work with Japan in the fields of Environment, Energy or Health.

Goal: to support European organisations to identify the right stakeholders for inclusion in Horizon 2020 projects and to search for collaboration partners in Japan.

Work to perform:

1) Analyse the business opportunity in research and innovation actions in Horizon 2020 calls targeting Japan in order to support the promotion process of relevant Horizon 2020 calls in Japan and partnership building activities for Horizon 2020. Map the particular research, technology and innovation strengths in Japan that are related to these business opportunities, i.e. identify the specific technologies in Japan that would be an asset in order to reach the objectives of the Horizon 2020 call.

2) Follow up at the request of European organisations to identify potential partners and liaise with Japanese counterparts to initiate and develop contacts as appropriate. Develop new contacts as necessary.

3) Produce an actionable report with concrete recommendations on partnership opportunities for research managers of European consortia with an interest to involve Japanese organisations.

The candidate shall work on any of the following fields*:
• Environment (focus on climate change and arctic research)
• Energy (focus on hydrogen fuel cells, energy storage, carbon capture and storage, electric vehicles, etc.)
• Health (focus on active and healthy ageing, global research cooperation, etc.)

*These areas are subject to change depending on the final Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020

Desired MINERVA candidate profile: the position requires a candidate with a good understanding of technical aspects of the above mentioned areas. The ideal candidate will need to combine Japanese and English language skills with some technical background as well a good communication and presentation skills, in the context of facilitating partnerships between the EU and Japan.

3/ Comprehensive analysis of Japan's scientific potential for innovation cooperation in Biotech / Life Sciences. Identification of latent demand for cooperation with EU SMEs / Start-ups and Clusters.

Work to do:

1) By performing field interviews with Japanese actors in basic and applied research in Biotech and Life Sciences (actors in academia, National Research Centers and other relevant private R&D institutions), identify and rank actors under multiple criteria, which include (among others):
a) the level and output of scientific activity, reputation and potential for innovation cooperation and technology transfer (this level should be measured with internationally accepted and recognized standards of measuring scientific output) ;
b) the willingness to engage in collaborative projects with foreign / EU entities;
c) the actor's support from Japanese local, regional and/or national stakeholders / associations / clusters to encourage future engagement in innovation collaboration with foreign entities;

2) For each Japanese actor interviewed, document and identify a long list of research sub-areas of interest which should reflect the actor's willingness to engage in future innovation collaboration; in each sub-area, identify the actor's reasons / latent demand / interest to engage in future innovation collaboration with EU counterparts;

3) Put together a shortlist of most interesting actors as well as a corresponding shortlist of topics of interest expressed by targeted Japanese actors; analyze the drivers and inhibitors for such demand against the interest expressed by EU Bio-related SMEs and Clusters interested in fostering more international collaboration with Japan.

4) Produce an actionable report with concrete recommendations on partnership opportunities, for target readers who are managers from EU SMEs / Start-ups and related R&D actors. Include a short analysis of the Japanese government's policy supporting the international innovation collaboration in the areas of Biotech / Life Science in Japan.

Desired MINERVA candidate profile:

The assignment requires a candidate with a solid understanding of industrial applications and services, as well as R&D and innovation priorities in Japan in the area of Biotechnologies and/or life sciences, together with demonstrated experience in analysis, report drafting and presentation skills. The ideal candidate will need to combine Japanese and English language skills with a good ability to communicate and present in the context of Academia, Clusters as well as SMEs in the EU and Japan.

4/ Research and Analysis on the existing EU-Japan cooperation agreements between clusters, industrial and R&D organizations.

Work to do:

1) Research and list up existing bilateral and multi-lateral agreements signed between EU and Japanese stakeholders (note 1) aimed at supporting and furthering industrial, innovation and/or R&D cooperation. The research must cover as broad a spectrum of business and R&D segments as possible (with certain priority sectors, which will be discussed with the EU-Japan Centre's MINERVA management team), and should take stock of research reports performed by past MINERVA fellows and other analyses, such as the Japan Cluster Mapping Report performed by the EU-Japan Centre. The research shall cover agreements signed by EU Member States, as well as COSME countries (note 2), with Japan.

2) List up, prioritize and interview previously identified stakeholders in order to better understand a) the contents and intentions of each cooperation agreement (context, scope, span, duration, objectives, etc...); b) past coordination, support and promotion activities which have been organized in the framework of the agreement, as well as measured output, outcomes and benefit for stakeholders' clients as a result of carrying out such activities; c) priority policy frameworks and strategic, long-term interests which drive stakeholders to sign such agreements.

3) Based on the previous interviews, analyze and identify possible synergies which should leverage the EU-Japan Centre's various support services in helping stakeholders to better carry out cooperation support activities laid out in their agreements. Furthermore, clarify stakeholders' motivation to engage in future collaborative projects with the EU-Japan Centre, and propose concrete synergy-generating projects which are aligned with stakeholders' priorities.

4) Produce an actionable report with concrete recommendations on possible future synergies, for target clients who are in charge of SMEs' or R&D institutes' internationalization. Suggest a best course of action on how the EU-Japan Centre should be engaged, with a short description of efforts involved for each synergy-generating plan.

Desired MINERVA candidate profile:

The assignment requires a candidate with a good understanding of the policy mechanisms of EU-Japan industrial and/R&D cooperation, as well as industry, R&D and innovation priorities in Japan in the context of cooperation with the EU/COSME, together with demonstrated experience in analysis, report drafting and presentation skills. In order to conduct field interviews of stakeholders in Japan, the ideal candidate will need to combine Japanese and English language skills with a good ability to communicate and present in the context of Academia, Clusters as well as SMEs in the EU and Japan.

5/ Industrial and R&D cooperation potential with Japan in the space and GNSS based autonomous navigation and piloting for cars, ships and aircraft in Japan – An Opportunity Analysis for EU SMEs to cooperate with Japan.
6/ Potential opportunities for EU firms in the Japanese Public Finance Initiatives and Public-Private Partnerships for infrastructure projects (airport management, water infrastructure, etc..).

Note 1: an "agreement" is meant to be any form of documented and signed pledge to cooperate, which involves the participation of 2 or more "stakeholders" between the EU and Japan (with at least 1 stakeholder based in Japan), for the specific purpose of coordinating, supporting and promoting cooperation in industry, R&D, innovation and/or technology transfer. Specific cooperation agreements aimed at carrying out joint R&D should be excluded from this definition. Stakeholders can be for example, Clusters, Chambers of Commerce, Municipalities, Industrial and/or Research Associations, as well as Technology Licensing Offices.

Note 2: COSME countries refer to the EU 28 Members States plus the following list (http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/21365).

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