How to Use Standardization for Dissemination and Sustainable Exploitation of Applied research results
Standardization is, by definition (ISO, 2004) the activity of establishing, about actual or potential problems, provisions for common and repeated use, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in each context. In particular, the activity consists of the processes of formulating, issuing and implementing standards. Important benefits of standardization are improvement of the suitability of products, processes and services for their intended purposes, prevention of barriers to trade and facilitation of technological cooperation. It is, therefore, easy to identify the synergies of it with the understanding that OECD (2015) has of applied research, defined as original investigation undertaken to acquire new knowledge, directed primarily towards a specific practical aim or objective. Furthermore, formal standardization processes, based on the Code of Good Practices for the preparation, adoption and application of standards established by the World Trade Organization (WTO), follow principles such as transparency, participation, effectiveness and consensus, which assure different views of stakeholders are considered. For this reason, the participation in standardization processes is also an effective way for researchers to achieve two additional goals (for the first 3, see Part 1):
- Facilitate knowledge transfer and dissemination of applied research deliverables from academia to the market
Standardization bodies are one of the three pillars of quality infrastructures at national, regional and international levels. These quality infrastructures work in network, and therefore, standardization bodies are composed, at international and regional levels, by countries and regional/international organizations and, at national level, of members representing different societal/market stakeholders. What this means is that whatever technical work is discussed and/or developed by standardization bodies, is communicated to all its members and its outreach is interesting. As an example, the international organization for standardization (ISO) has over 160 country members. In practice, what this means is that if a given applied research deliverable for a new process/service/product that is handed over to ISO as a new standardization item proposal, it has the potential to be to disseminated to the members of national technical committees of >160 countries, as they need to analyze it and decide if their country has an interest in further developing that deliverable as an international standard. Even if the international consensus is that there is no need for international standardization in that subject, the dissemination goal was still achieved through the analyses process.
- Assure future sustainable exploitation of applied research deliverables through standardization and regulation, in line with the EU Standardization Strategy
Continuing with the example above, if the international consensus is to approve the new international standardization proposal based on the applied research deliverable for a new process/service/product, then this will be further exploited. It will be taken into a technical committee specialized in the subject and composed by Experts from all over the world who will work collaboratively in a work group specifically mandated to exploit that deliverable, but developing in such a way that reaches international consensus and is possible to implement globally. Moreover, as the standardization process is subject to a systematic approach to assure the relevance of the standardization deliverables, international Experts in the subject will look in to it every 5 years to decide if it is still relevant or if it needs to be updated or withdrawn. This assures the self-sustainability of the applied research deliverable (meanwhile developed into a standardization deliverable), which is one of the biggest challenges applied researchers face with funded applied research, as when the fund ends, there is no PHE institutional capacity to look after the published deliverables. As the institutions of the quality infrastructures, such as standardization bodies, have that capacity, handing over research deliverables to them assures their self-sustainable exploitation.
To take advantage of this possibility, applied researchers, as any citizens, only need to exercise their right to participate in standardization activities. To enable this civilian right, they need to contact their National Standardization Body (NSB), get acquainted with their technical committees and the standardization projects they are developing to choose in which they want to take part. After following the procedures to join, they become members of the chosen technical committees and work groups and start participating in meetings and consultations regarding the projects they’re interested in. And if they don’t find a technical committee, work group or projects in the field they want to participate – they can always help their NBS start a new one.
ISO (2004). ISO/IEC Guide 2:2004 Standardization and related activities — General vocabulary. ISO: Geneva.
OECD (2015). Frascati Manual 2015: Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development, The Measurement of Scientific, Technological and Innovation Activities. OECD publishing, Paris. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264239012-en
Bridging the worlds of Academia and Standardization part2
What ISO standards do for you
Dare to dream BIG: Standards empower innovators (EN, ES, FR)
(Estimated time to complete the task: 1-2 hours)
We’ll walk you through the first steps in the international standardization world (for the regional European standardization world, see Part 1):
- Read the ISO Standards page
- Read the ISO Developing Standards page
- Browse the ISO Catalogue using any word related to research deliverables you would like to disseminate and further exploit through standardization. Take note of any published standards (and the Technical Committees and Work Groups responsible for them) related to your research deliverables
- Go to the ISO Members page and identify your national standardization body (NSB)
- Go to your NSB webpage and find how to join the Technical Committees and Work Groups you previously identified. If this information is not available at their website, contact them and ask directly.