Hester Tack (*email address protected*)

Transferring knowledge from academia to business has proven to be quite a challenge. Many universities use both formal and informal transfer mechanisms to achieve this. Formal mechanisms include patenting IP that has arisen out of research and trying to license these patents out to companies. This is the basis of the classical technology transfer. Informal mechanisms include research collaboration, facility sharing etc. These mechanisms focus more on knowledge transfer rather than technology transfer.

Due to the changing environment that universities operate in, the classical technology transfer models are beginning to lose their efficiency and knowledge transfer appears to be more of interest to companies than the in-licensing of technologies. The latter activity, however, is still being carried out but is only a small portion of all academic- industry interaction, and this share seems to be diminishing as time progresses. In addition, from the government’s perspective, the need to demonstrate societal impact from sponsored research is also growing.

Companies have changed internally as well and many are looking towards Open Innovation Models with both academia as well as industry but also with local or national societal groups. This means they are looking for alternative ways of interacting with various groups to acquire new ideas, knowledge and technologies.