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Media Corner
01 October 2013

F4E gets down to business with a new industrial policy

Professor Henrik Bindslev, F4E Director, explains the new industrial policy

ITER is by far the biggest international partnership in the field of energy and it can only be realised in collaboration with industry, SMEs and research organisations. They are the backbone of this project and without their commitment commercial fusion will remain a distant dream. Therefore, getting the business sector onboard and finding the best possible way to work together is high on the agenda. It’s in Europe’s interest to broaden its industrial capacity in this domain and improve its competitiveness in a field that promises to yield long term benefits.

One of the first objectives that F4E’s Director, Professor Henrik Bindslev, set for the organisation was to foster an open and constructive dialogue with industry, SMEs and the network of ITER Industrial Liaison Officers. “Europe’s contribution to ITER is Europe’s opportunity for industry. In essence this means jobs, growth and knowledge that will open new markets. We are ready to listen, understand your concerns and respond with a series of actions and incentives in order to help you seize fusion’s business potential” he explained.

Taking advantage of industry’s presence at the 11th International Symposium on Fusion Nuclear Technology (ISFNT-11), F4E presented its new industrial policy and its roadmap. Four specific actions underpin this new collaborative framework:
first, F4E will proactively facilitate and assist with business opportunities;
second, financial risks will be shared with contractors and liabilities together with guarantees will be limited;
third, the rules in the field of intellectual property have been revised;
fourth, the administrative burden will be reduced.

To help you understand what the new measures are about we have prepared a short report:

More actions will be adopted in order to ease business participation in F4E calls: more Info Days and awareness campaigns will be organised to reach out to stakeholders, financial compensation may be provided for the preparation of bids in the framework of competitive dialogue and last but not least, networking events between SMEs and large industrial suppliers will be planned.
There have also been modifications in the areas of financial risk and liabilities to help future contractors. For example, there will be no pre-financing guarantee for contracts of less than 1 million EUR and no performance guarantee for contracts of less than 10 million EUR.
F4E will align the obligations and liabilities of contractors to standard industrial practices. For example: liabilities will correspond maximum to the total value of the contract price or in some cases even below.
Nuclear liabilities for damages to third parties or for damages occurring on the ITER site will be waived. Risk insurance and decennial insurance on the ITER site is in favour of the contractors and F4E is bearing the cost for the related premium.
Any additional costs incurred by the contractor as a consequence of the change in the applicable legislation or temporary suspension of the contract will be attributed to F4E or other ITER Domestic Agencies (DAs).

There is also good news in the area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). First of all, IP ownership in most cases will be in the hands of contractors. Furthermore, contractors will be offered the exclusive rights for the exploitation of IP acquired in the fields outside fusion and non-exclusive rights in the field of fusion.

Cutting down the administrative burden is another commitment undertaken by F4E. Standardised tender documentation and model contracts will be created. Contractual provisions will be aligned to industry standards and harmonised selection criteria will be established.
E-procurement and further improvements on the Industry and Associations portal will be introduced.

To find out more about the F4E calls visit the Industry and Associations portal
To see interviews with policy makers and ITER ILOs click here.
To see what companies think of ITER’s business potential click here.