Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)
Encourage university-industry linkages.
Increased enterprise by the academic sector, and stronger links between regionally and locally present higher education institutions and the local SME sector, should continue to be encouraged and promoted. This should also refer to commercialisation of academic research, technology and innovations.
Reduce barriers for professors and university staff to start businesses.
To capitalise on underexploited means of commercialisation universities should work to reduce barriers to professors and researchers starting businesses and should, in the long run, provide incentives for professors to start businesses. Incentives might include reduced teaching requirements, equity in start-ups, and royalties from licenses to those start-ups.
Increase attention on intellectual property issues.
HEIs should recognise the value of the intellectual property created as a result of their research, more aggressively protect that intellectual property, and pursue all possible means of realising the commercial value of that intellectual property.
Promote high level innovation.
Existing good practice initiatives should be sustained and lessons applied to other industries. Brokering relationships between larger regional companies with latent intellectual property and SMEs with the capacities to use it should be seen as another potential route for stimulating higher level innovation. The smaller company could buy, licence or pay a commission for the intellectual property. The approach requires a public sector agency with in-depth technology and business awareness to scan for such brokering opportunities and to initiate and facilitate dialogue
Expand technology institutions and activities.
Given cost structures, SMEs in OECD countries increasingly need to compete on technology or other added value features that give them competitive edge on international markets. The establishment and further development of external R&D services could help local SMEs to innovate. It might be that the Districts perceive themselves as too small to create by themselves the innovation support infrastructures necessary for SMEs. In this case, collaboration with neighbouring Districts or thematically related higher education institutions should be sought.
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