State of the art
Insufficient research collaboration and knowledge transfer between Public Research Organizations (PROs), particularly universities, and industry are one of the weaknesses of the European innovation system. Currently, the technology transfer methods embrace commercializing the R&D results and addressing companies in the last phases of the R&D process. Lynne H. Irwin describes in her article Technology Transfer that the transfer should not only be a consideration upon the conclusion of research; instead, it is a process that is most effectively integrated throughout the entire research effort, resulting in greater benefit from the research results. The R&D Industry project will present a reverse flow of action with SMEs being contacted and included in the R&D flow of the universities. Lynne H. Irwin also states that effective communication of new ideas and techniques is best done through multiple channels: people, newsletters, case study reports, professional association networks, etc. This perspective is widely acknowledged and will be addressed by our project through networks and socializing events to pursue the common goal.
A very important component of the project is the development of a transnational web-based platform serving the purpose of research and project management and a helping tool to technology transfer officers. Similar platforms currently available, for example ‘KSS TechTracS®' developed by Knowledge Sharing Systems LLC and 'Inteum' developed by Inteum Company Ltd, are adapted to American characteristics of R&D projects and IPR management and therefore unsuitable for European environment. Networking element, also intended by our project, is seen in certain European research and industry networks, for example European institute of technology, research network created by major European technology companies to forge university-industry links, or Europe INNOVA initiative, more widespread network. None of them corresponds directly to the needs of universities, participating in R&D Industry project. Our platform will offer for researchers to manage European R&D projects, for technology transfer offices to have access to data, crucial for effective IPR management, and for companies to have insight in laboratories’ and institutes’ activities. Document flow and e-signature will facilitate research management at universities.
Technology Transfer Office of Graz University of Technology in Austria is already successfully implementing the activity of visiting and analyzing SMEs and has received the support of regional authority. The R&D Industry project builds upon their findings and experiences and will transfer the praxis to European regions, included in our project. Business breakfasts are common method of enhancing networking among entrepreneurs. We will introduce an alternative – research breakfasts – which will, if carried out repeatedly, support contacts and joint projects forming but also raise awareness on relevant issue.