19 Jan 2023
EU-funded research stimulates patented inventions according to a new study
The European Research Council (ERC) has published a new study which finds that more than 40% of ERC-funded projects generated research that was subsequently cited in patents. This shows how curiosity-driven frontier research prompts technological advancements, in particular the development of breakthrough products and processes, the ERC states.
The study focused on how and to what extent the discoveries that ERC grantees described in scientific publications inspired new technologies presented in patent applications, which were filed by firms and institutions all over the world. It is based on data from 6,671 ERC-funded projects from all scientific domains, including all projects funded from 2007 until 2016.
ERC-funded projects in life sciences were most likely to exert influence on patents (61% of projects in that domain are cited in patent applications), followed by projects in physical sciences and engineering (46%). Patents with links to ERC-funded research are concentrated in certain technology fields. Patents in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, computer technology, organic fine chemistry, measurement, and semiconductors together accounted for 68.2% of the total patent citations received.
Furthermore, the analysis demonstrates a positive impact of ERC-funded research on technological fields whose development is crucial for tackling climate change and making the most of the digital transformation.
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