Commercialising Public Research

New Trends and Strategies

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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.



Financing of public research-based spin-offs

The financing of public research-based spin-offs – from research to market – takes place at various stages in the firm development cycle. National policy instruments have focused on the seed funding stage, but support has shifted to proof-of-concept and prototype funding. Universities and PRIs are also providing institutional support, ranging from institutional risk capital funds, mentoring and incubation support to IP assessment services and business development plans. Corporate venturing, research crowdfunding and using IP for financing purposes represent additional sources of financing for public research spin-offs, but the scale of financing remains limited in most cases.


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