Knowledge and technology transfer
The dissemination of knowledge acquired through research is one of main functions of any research university. In recent years advanced economies have placed great emphasis on transfer of new technologies and knowledge to the industrial sector. The main goals of these activities are increased competitiveness, regional development, and the general prosperity: quality research universities are an important link in the chain “education -> science, research and development -> investment -> transfer to industry -> product”. Transfer of technologies and knowledge is one of the major sources for financing science and research outside the grant system of the state budget.
In 2005 Masaryk University established its own Technology Transfer Office (CTT) for the purpose of supporting transfer of technology and knowledge. This university-wide department provides the institutional framework for external application of the results of research and development at MU, and is also the contact place for firms interested in working with MU in the areas of research and development, use of laboratory capacity, etc.
CTT services provided for MU departments:
- methodological support for the authors of innovation when announcing their findings
- consultancy in the area of law and protection of intellectual rights
- finding and paying for the services of patent representatives
- presentation of result of MU research at exhibits, exhibitions, technology trade fairs, etc.
- training of research workers in the area of innovative enterprise
- organizing of expert consultation, seminars, workshops, etc.
- help in publishing information on scientific projects in national and international databases
- finding sources of financing, for start-up capital and the protection of intellectual rights
- coordination for commercial use of MU special technologies laboratories
- evaluation of demand for technologies
- evaluation of commercial potential of innovation
- coordination for license contracts
- support for spin-offs
CTT services for firms:
- presentation of research taking place at MU
- offering technology for licensing
- helping to arrange the use of research, development, and laboratory capacity
- arranging consultations
CTT assistance for transfer of technology and knowledge:
Publications are the most common way of informing the world about the results of research or development. When making information public, it must be remembered that once results are published there is no longer any means to effectively protect them, which may seriously limit the possibilities for commercial exploitation for MU and for the author. Especially in the case of technologies protected by patent (where the MU employee has a legal responsibility to inform his employer of the new technology before it is announced) it is a good idea to consult with the CTT before publication. Publication can take the form of a simple verbal notification to a person who is not bound to confidentiality in the context of the creation of new technology; or it can be any regularized form of verbal or written statement (lecture, seminar, workshop, training, defense of academic thesis, regular and final project reports, professional or academic publication, monograph, exhibition, etc.) or media articles, reports, radio and television programs, etc.
The granting of licenses is one of the forms of commercialization of the results of research and development, and one of the forms technology transfer from the university environment. License contracts are signed for the application of research and development results; and for the use of objects of industrial rights (inventions, useful models, trademarks) including transfer of rights to these objects, for compensation. Licensing is secured in cooperation with the author, and where necessary a contract arrangement with the specialized department Technology Transfer Office of Masaryk University.
Spin-offs is the term for firms created by splitting away from a research organization such as a university or research institute, in order to capitalize on know-how that is the result of the research activities of the university or research institute. These are mostly small or medium-sized firms which tend to lack sufficient resources for the realization of their own investment plans, and therefore seek an investor. MU is one of the founders of the South Moravia Innovation Centre in Brno, which provides an incubator for innovative firms, supporting their establishment and development. Another opportunity for innovative firms just getting started will be the incubator for biotechnology firms (INBIT) at the campus in Bohunice, to be completed in 2008.