Commercialising Public Research

New Trends and Strategies

image of Commercialising Public Research

Public research is the source of many of today’s technologies from the GPS and MRI to MP3 technology. Public research institutions (PRIs) and universities are also an engine of entrepreneurial ventures from biotech start-ups to Internet giants like Google. Today, globalisation, open innovation and new forms of venture financing such as crowd funding are changing the way institutions promote the transfer and commercialisation of public researcher results.

This report describes recent trends in government and university level policies to enhance the transfer and exploitation of public research and benchmarks the patenting and licensing activities of PRIs and universities in a number of OECD countries and regions, including the EU, Australia, Canada, and the US.

Finally, it also showcases, based on case studies of leading institutions in Finland (Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship), Germany (Fraunhofer Institute), the Czech Republic (Technology Transfer Office of the Czech Technical University), Japan (open innovation in firms), United States (National Institutes of Health) a number of good practices for increasing the number of university invention disclosures, accelerate licensing contracts and promote more open innovation practices between universities and firms.




Executive Summary

Public research in universities and public research institutions (PRIs) are the source of many of today’s technological innovations from recombinant DNA technology, the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the MP3 technology to Apple’s Siri voice recognition technology. But recent data on the number of patents, licenses and companies created at universities and PRIs show a general slowdown since the late 2000s. This has raised concern among policy makers and practitioners about the effectiveness of commercialisation policies and mainstream technology transfer practices at universities and PRIs. This has in turn generated interest in new approaches to turn science into business as well as in new indicators for measuring the two-ways flows of knowledge and technology between public research and business.


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