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What is technology transfer?

Research transforms money into knowledge … technology transfer transforms knowledge into money.”

Geoffrey Nicholson, father of the Post-It

Technology transfer (TT) refers to the process of conveying results stemming from scientific and technological research to the market place and to wider society, along with associated skills and procedures, and is as such an intrinsic part of the technological innovation process.

Technology transfer is a complex process that involves many non-scientific and non-technological factors, and many different stakeholders. Good or high quality research results are not enough for successful technology transfer; general awareness and willingness both at the level of organisations and individuals, as well as skills and capacity related to specific aspects, such as access to risk finance and intellectual property (IP) management, are also necessary components.

The fundamental steps of the technology transfer process are depicted in the figure below.

Technology transfer covers the complex value chain linking research to its eventual societal deployment. This begins with the discovery of novel technologies at research institutions, followed by the disclosure, evaluation and protection of these technologies. The next steps include marketing, potential licencing agreements and the development of products based on the technical inventions. The financial returns of these products can then, for instance, be used for further research.

You can learn more about this cycle in the following e-learning course.

 

E-learning course on knowledge transfer

This e-learning course on Knowledge Transfer is mainly designed/developed for scientists and researchers from Universities and Research Centers.

The goal of this e-learning module is to introduce scientists and researchers to key elements and concepts in the domains of knowledge and technology transfer. After completing this e-learning course, the learner should be able to understand how to:

  • protect the technical invention
  • exploit it;  and
  • bring it to market.

This course consists of 7 chapters:

1. Technology Scouting

2. Technology and Market Assessment

3. IP Protection & Management

4. IP Promotion

5. Negotiation

6. Commercialisation

7. Market

A simulation of the daily activities of a university's technology transfer office guides learners through the interesting world of knowledge transfer all the way from research to market.

Multiple choice tests at the end of each chapter help learners assess their understanding of the course.

 

Where can I find more detailed information on technology transfer?

We invite you to go through our repository which combines numerous documents and publications on this topic.

You can also learn more by following the activities of the European Commission's  Competence Centre on Technology Transfer.