Academic Research Programme

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We anticipate that all project applicants will be informed about the outcome in the course of November 2020.

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 eight thematic areas listed below, spanning various disciplinary fields including economics, IP management and data sciences. Interdisciplinary projects will also be considered.

  • Measuring the impact of patents on innovation
  • Role of IP in technology transfer, commercialisation, and/or investment activities
  • Patent services and intermediaries
  • Patents and the IP bundle
  • Patents and disruptive technologies (AI, blockchain, 3D, etc.)
  • Impact of public policy and the regulatory landscape on the use of patents by SMEs and PROs across Europe
  • Patents and climate change mitigation technologies
  • 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.

Proposals for projects may be submitted by individual research institutes or by groups of institutes. In the case of a group of institutes, the institutes can be from anywhere in the world, as long as the contracting partner (project leader) is based in a member state of the European Patent Organisation. There are no nationality requirements for either the principal investigator or the co investigators.

Our offer

The EPO Academic Research Programme (EPO ARP) provides financial support for rigorous research projects that set out to produce empirical evidence with relevant implications for policymakers and business in Europe. In the last three years the EPO ARP has attracted 154 research project proposals from 21 European countries. Of these proposals, eleven have been awarded a grant. In 2019 a further four were selected for EPO support.

This fourth 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.

Finalised EPO ARP-funded research

The six research projects which were awarded funding after the call for papers in 2017 were finalised at the end of 2019 and the researchers presented the findings to peers and selected experts at a workshop at the EPO in December 2019.

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 in the course of November 2020.

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.

How to apply


Queries should be sent to arp@epo.org.

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