Academic Research Programme

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Applications are now closed for 2019

We anticipate that all project applicants will be informed about the outcome by the end of October 2019.

The EPO recognises the importance of high-quality research on patent-related intellectual property (IP) matters to inform policymakers and facilitate sound business decisions in a context where intangible assets, innovation and IP rights have become pivotal in the economy. With this research programme, introduced in 2017, the EPO seeks in particular to encourage more academic research on the role of patents in the European economy and to promote the dissemination of research results.

Selection criteria

The grants will be awarded to a limited number of well-defined projects addressing a specific question within the seven thematic areas listed below, spanning various disciplinary fields including economics, IP management, and data sciences. Interdisciplinary projects will also be considered.

  1. Measuring the impact of patents on innovation
  2. The role of patents in technology transfer, commercialisation, and/or investment decisions
  3. Patent services and intermediaries
  4. Patents and disruptive technologies (AI, blockchain, 3D, etc.)
  5. Impact of public policy and the regulatory landscape on the use of patents by SMEs and PROs across Europe
  6. Patents and climate change mitigation technologies
  7. Advanced use of PATSTAT, patent searching, and analytics (e.g. classification, potential of IP linked open data)

Your proposed topic's relevance in terms of the thematic areas will be evaluated by independent peer-reviewers. The EPO Academic Research Team cannot give feedback or advice on the content of projects during the application process.

The project proposal and any other reports – interim or final – presented to the EPO must be in English.

The call for projects is open to research institutes based in a member state of the European Patent Organisation or – in exceptional cases – to individuals who are nationals of one of the EPO's member states. In the case of cross-organisational co-operation, the proposal must be submitted and the project led by a research institute based in a member state of the European Patent Organisation.

Our offer

The EPO Academic Research Programme provides financial support for rigorous research projects that set out to produce empirical evidence with relevant implications for policymakers and business in Europe. The 2017 and 2018 calls for projects attracted 110 research project proposals, 11 of which were selected for EPO support.

This third annual call for projects is again offering a total of EUR 300 000 in patent research grants. Selected projects will be granted between EUR 20 000 and EUR 100 000 each.

The EPO may also offer assistance on a case-by-case basis, for example by sharing internal expertise or helping to organise project-specific workshops. It will also disseminate the results of completed projects through dedicated events and publications.

Selection process

The proposals will be peer-reviewed by external experts specialising in the relevant research area. The grants will be awarded by the Programme's Scientific Committee chaired by the EPO Chief Economist. We anticipate that all project applicants will be informed about the outcome by the end of October 2019.

Research proposals will be rated according to the following criteria:

  • originality and innovativeness of the research question
  • potential policy/business implications
  • clarity and quality of the proposed methodology
  • ability of the applicant to successfully complete the project
  • relevance of the proposed budget.

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