Technology and scientific knowledge transfer enclose a set of actions aimed at facilitating commercial exploitation and the social impact of research capabilities and out-comings achieved by R&D activities.
A suitable background for knowledge transfer is an innovation ecosystem and its effectiveness requires technology intelligence throughout the process. To identify risks, opportunities and potential collaboration synergies among scientific development and productive and social needs is the main goal of technology and knowledge transfer.
Identification and Assessment
Challenge: To be able to identify technology needs or evaluate technology potential for an innovative project.
This first stage begins with the identification of the organisation’s technology status. To establish the problem to be solved and focus on the search for the most suitable technology to satisfy the need or, on the other hand, to make available the technology to others. Two different ways are possible:
- Technology requests: identification of the problem and the technology needed.
- Technology offers: the organisation offers its capacities and innovative technologies to solve other’s problems.
Furthermore, when matching technology requests and offers it is important the technology assessment in the organization, whether it is developed internally or acquired externally. For this, technology intelligence and other tools are available to help to identify and to evaluate the technology.
Main technology identification and assessment tools:
- Technology audits and diagnostics.
- Technology portfolio and decision matrices.
- Readiness level of the technologies (TRL).
- Technology roadmap for innovation.
- Market analysis.
Intellectual Property Rights
Challenge: To be able to generate intangible assets, based on legal and strategic knowledge protection, so to push R&D commercialisation opportunities and technology exploitation licenses.
Intellectual Property (IP) is a critical stage in the technology transfer process and a fundamental issue for technology intelligence. In addition to the generation of intangible assets, its effective management increases the organisation’s innovative capacity and competitive advantages in the market.
Furthermore, we recommend the IP guide with all keys for effective IP management.
Technology Valorization and Valuation
Challenge: To be able to increase R&D value and facilitate its useful understanding, to become more appealing for promotion, dissemination, communication and exploitation in the market.
This stage involves a technology portfolio creation, which means technology offers and requests elaboration. There are many guidelines and models regarding its structure and contents, for instance, the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), offers openly templates for preparing those types of documents. The next step is to promote, disseminate and marketing in catalogues, portfolios and marketplaces.
InnoUA is the technology catalogue of the University of Alicante, and it is disseminated through several technology marketplaces as part of the main technology promotion plan.
Furthermore, the R&D valorisation stage involves the selection of the most suitable mechanism, instrument or route for technology transfer into the market. The most common ways of technology transfer are:
- Technological cooperation
- Technical assistance
- Intellectual and industrial property license agreements.
- Creation of companies or spinoff
- Staff mobility.
Technology providers and technology seekers
Challenge: To be able to promote a technology offer or request so as to identify organisations with commercial exploitation interests and match their needs.
The design of a technology promotion plan for the best dissemination implies specific marketing techniques, managing social networks, events and networking with business groups. Technology marketplaces play a significant role at this stage as well as the networking role such as the EEN. Proactive efforts such as company partner search for participation in R&D collaborative projects are fundamental at this point.
Technology intelligence plays a necessary role at this stage, especially aimed at building interactions among scientific and productive sectors. On the one hand, technology intelligence helps research institutions to adjust technology products to productive needs; and on the other, it allows companies to identify those interesting technologies, analyse their applications and explore cooperation opportunities and strategic alliances to strengthen innovation capacity.
Technology negotiation and agreements
Challenge: To achieve a technology commercial approach having economic and social profitability guarantees in the agreement.
The negotiation stage is one of the most complex and sensitive in the technology transfer process and usually is subject to confidentiality agreements. Information and negotiation are the main management elements, that is why technology intelligence becomes an inherent tool to verify, validate and guide the decision-making process.
Main types of technology agreements:
- R&D agreements: development under a previous contract for of R&D, advice, technical assistance, etc.
- R&D cooperation agreement: development of collaborative R&D through regional, national or international projects.
- Creation of technology-based firms derived from research out comings.
- Intellectual Property Licence agreements
- Acquisition of intellectual property rights as part of a purchase or merger.
- A joint venture agreement
- A franchise agreement