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DIGITALEUROPE offers R&D participants a template consortium agreement designed to encourage collaboration between companies and academia under the EU’s H2020 framework


26 Jun 2014



DIGITALEUROPE today published MCARD-2020, a model consortium agreement  available to anyone wishing to form a research and development
consortium  under  the  EU’s  latest  multi  billion  euro,  multi-annual  R&D  framework programme, dubbed Horizon 2020 (H2020).

MCARD-2020  has  been  drafted  by  12  legal  experts  from  DIGITALEUROPE’s  corporate members to encourage the participation of partners from academia, small businesses as
well as established companies in H2020 projects.There has been a steady decline in industry participation in EU framework programmes.  
It fell from 39% in FP4 (1994-1998) to 31% in FP6  (2002-2006), and in FP7  (2007-2013), industry participated in only 25% of the projects.

This decline is partly due to the prolonged economic crisis in Europe. However, excessive
red tape and complex rules governing intellectual property have also played a part.
The European Commission has tried to make H2020 more attractive to companies by, for
example, speeding  up the evaluation process for projects. Under FP7 a  standard proposal
took  around a year between submission  and the start of the  project.   In a sector like ICT that
is clearly too long. H2020 is striving to reduce this time -to-grant by a few months.
Meanwhile, MCARD-2020 hopes to stem the decline by allowing for greater flexibility in the
way consortium members can agree on intellectual property issues, such as how consortia
can sign up to cross-licensing agreements with other researchers, and how mem bers of a
consortium can use patents that may result from the research.

“We  wholeheartedly  support  the  EU’s  goal  of  converting  more  research  projects  into
products and  services.  This move from the lab  to  the market  plays  an  important  role  in
stimulating jobs and growth in Europe. Industry participation is vital. We hope the MCARD -2020 will encourage greater collaboration between companies and academia over the next seven years,” said John Higgins, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE.

MCARD-2020 is similar to the Integrated Project Consortium Agreement (IPCA) developed
by DIGITALEUROPE for Horizon 2020’s predecessor,  FP7.  As with the IPCA,  consortia in
any scientific field, not just in the ICT domain, are free to adapt and use the MCARD-2020.

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