Technology transfer (TT) / Knowledge Transfer (KT) refers to the process of conveying results stemming from scientific and technological research to the market place and to wider society. It is the channel allowing investment in research and development (R&D) to transform into benefit for the economy and society, through innovative technologies, products and services offered by companies and other actors in the market, as well as solutions addressing specific needs and societal challenges.
Technology transfer is a complex process that involves many scientific, -technological and other factors, as well as and many different stakeholders. The fundamental steps of the technology transfer process are depicted in the figure below.
Source: European Commission
Technology transfer begins with the discovery of novel technologies and inventions, followed by the disclosure, evaluation and protection of relevant Intellectual Property (IP) rights. The next steps include promoting technologies to potential buyers, potential licencing agreements and developing products and services based on the technological inventions. In some cases, the establishment of a spin-out / start-up company is decided, undertaking further development and marketing of the technology while attracting additional funds.
Success of KT activities depends to a large extent on the generation of high quality research results. However, it also depends heavily on factors such as awareness and willingness at the level of both organizations and individuals, the existence of relevant skills, abilities and specialized know-how, effective management of intellectual property, as well as availability of risk finance.