One of the tools to optimise the transfer of knowledge is the use of users’ committees, a discussion platform composed of the research group and industrial partners. The task of the users' committee is to provide adequate supervision of each flagship and to ensure that the researcher does not lose sight of the application aspect whilst carrying out his research. It provides information, and also functions as a discussion partner.
The committee is formed by the flagship captain, potential users and other persons who are considered to have an understanding of the possible uses and applications of the research results. The committee is an open forum and everyone who is interested can in principle become a member of the committee under the same membership conditions.
The members of the users’ committee are in a favourable position because they are closely involved in the research and are informed about recent developments in the research at an early stage. Furthermore, members of the committee can maintain informal contacts with the researchers on an individual basis.Participation in the committee implies that the members handle the results reported from the study in confidence, unless decided otherwise. The members of the users’ committee can also be the first to express their interest to acquire rights for the application, further development work and the exploitation of the knowledge generated. Membership of the committee does not automatically give those involved the right to commercialise the knowledge acquired. Experience has shown that for a commercialisation to be successful, it is vital that the company has an exclusive right to the knowledge concerned, whether or not this is patented. Therefore, a primary concern of the NanoNed office is to protect the results. At the very least, this means ensuring that the results are not disclosed prematurely.