Dos and don’ts when drafting an exploitation plan
CategoriesEU Project Research exploitation

Struggling to compile your project’s exploitation plan? You don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered!

If you are working on EU-funded research projects, you probably already know how important it is to ensure that the knowledge generated within the research is properly diffused. The structured actions to be taken in order to make sure that this knowledge is delivered to the society is what we call an exploitation plan. 

It is well-known that the commercial exploitation is one of the more direct ways to deliver research results to the citizens. By translating research findings into tangible outcomes, researchers and their partners can accelerate innovation and drive progress in various fields. 

The exploitation of research results can help disseminate knowledge and information to a wider audience, including policymakers, scientists, and the general public. This can help inform decision-making and lead to better outcomes.

Identifying the Key Exploitable Results

The main objective of any Exploitation Plan is to strengthen and amplify the impact of the Key Exploitable Results (KERs) generated within the project. This is only possible by the development of an exploitation strategy and with the support of all consortium partners involved to further exploit it during the different stages of the project. Together, they work to unlock the full potential of the results. 
The main goal of the exploitation is to create value from the results that can have an impact during and after the funded project is finished, either by the consortium partners or by other stakeholders. It can also help to generate revenue and create value for the organizations (public and private) that funded the research, demonstrate the impact of their investments, and attract further funding for future research.

An exploitation plan plays a vital role in facilitating the transformation of knowledge and ideas into tangible outcomes.

As Marco Franchin, META Group’s senior expert, explains: “An exploitation plan plays a vital role in facilitating the transformation of knowledge and ideas into tangible outcomes that can make a difference in people’s lives and maximizing the societal, economic, and environmental impact of research initiatives. It fosters knowledge transfer, ensures sustainability, drives economic growth, and meets the expectations of funding agencies.”


Depending on the duration of the project, as exploitation partner, you will be asked to define a specific exploitation plan with a framework set in order to start validating the KERs identified and characterized. Overall, every Exploitation Plan has the following four main objectives: 
  • Assessment of the expected impact of the project.
  • Identification of the Key Exploitable Results (KERs) and analysis of their exploitation potential. 
  • Set up exploitation plans for individual technologies. 
  • Support activities for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection.
To decide the content that you will include in the exploitation plan and to have a clear vision about the potential and multidimensional impact of the project, answering the following questions could be very useful. 
  • How will the project boost the research in this field? – Technology innovation potential 
  • How will the project boost the economic growth?  Economical innovation potential 

How will the society benefit from the projects’ resultsSocietal innovation potential
All the above will help to understand how to create your own exploitation plan. Now we share some tips to make it a winner plan and some aspects to avoid!

Do’s: 5 tips to boost your exploitation plan

To ensure the success of your exploitation plan, Franchin advises to start planning the exploitation early in the research process and identify potential applications, market opportunities, and early-adopters from the beginning. Identifying and securing the necessary funding and resources to support the exploitation activities is also essential at this stage.

Access to relevant expertise and infrastructure is essential for successfully executing the exploitation plan. A proper evaluation of the intellectual property (IP) generated by the research and the development of strategies for protecting and managing it effectively is another factor to consider from the very beginning. In order to do so you should:

  1. Clearly define the project’s objectives and how they align with the EU’s research and innovation priorities. Check the last updates on the EU priorities and funding schemes.
  2. Identify the potential market opportunities, target audience, and end-users for the project’s outcomes. This way, the exploitation of research results can stimulate economic growth by creating new jobs, generating revenue, and increasing productivity.
  3. Conduct a thorough analysis of the intellectual property (IP) landscape to identify any existing patents or competing technologies. This can help to ensure that the benefits of the research are shared fairly among those who contributed to it.
  4. Include actions that will lead you to engage with relevant stakeholders, such as industry partners, policymakers, and end-users.
  5. Continuously monitor and evaluate the progress of the exploitation plan.

Don’ts: Common mistakes in exploitation plans

Very often, researchers tend to focus on the technical aspects of their research and overlook the commercial or business aspects. This can result in an exploitation plan that does not adequately address market needs.

Due to poor dissemination strategies, researchers often fail to engage with potential early-adopters throughout the research process to understand their perspectives, validate the market potential, and build partnerships for successful exploitation, thus limiting the potential for successful exploitation. Insufficient consideration of funding and resource often hinder the successful execution of an exploitation plan.

To avoid this situation, make sure you avoid these common mistakes and projects risks:

  1. Don’t overlook the importance of market research and analysis. It is crucial to identify the market demand and assess the commercial potential of the project’s outcomes.
  2. Don’t delay engaging with stakeholders and potential industry partners until the end of the project. Early collaboration and feedback can significantly enhance the exploitation potential.
  3. Don’t rely solely on a single exploitation route. Explore multiple avenues, such as licensing, partnerships, or commercial spin-offs, to diversify the project’s impact and sustainability.
  4. Don’t neglect monitoring and evaluation of the exploitation activities. Regularly assess the progress, impact, and effectiveness of the plan and make adjustments as necessary.
  5. Don’t wait until the end of the project to start thinking about exploitation. Start planning and implementing exploitation activities early on to maximize the project’s potential impact.
META Group has a long history of supporting research and innovation actions with the exploitation of research results: 2.000+ consortia supported at any Technology Readiness Level. We’re also leading partners of Horizon Results Booster, an European Commission’s initiative which aims to bring a continual stream of innovation to the market and maximise the impact of public funded research within the EU.
Are you looking for an exploitation partner for your research? Let’s talk
Need support for your closed or ongoing EU-funded projects? Apply for Horizon Results Booster free services.