Recommendations for Business Incubators, Networks and Technology Transfer from Nanoscience to Business

A report published by the EU funded Nanoforum initiative makes recommendations on how Europe can improve the transfer of technology from its research results, including in the field of nanotechnology.

This report is the result of the two day workshop "Nano2Business" held at Warsaw University of Technology on 7th and 8th February 2007. The main focus of the discussions was on the best organisation for technology transfer incubators, technology transfer networks, and on identifying the main barriers to technology transfer.

The report highlights the importance of education, and especially university education, which could teach business skills to scientists. It also calls for the people involved in the commercialisation of nanoscience and technology to benefit from special education following their scientific degree so as to develop management skills and understand marketing and financial issues.

"The management team must be able to act as an effective technology translator. Technology translation is a relatively new career option for engineers and scientists of all disciplines. The role of a technology translator is to translate industrial problems and requirements into basic scientific concepts and to source academic expertise from the science and engineering base," reads the report.
"The translator then facilitates collaborative research between industry and academia, and, finally, converts the scientific results into commercially exploitable information," it continues.

Finally, the report recommends improving the organisation of science by supporting new spin-offs or other forms of technology transfer.

Source : Cordis News 2007-05-21

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Technology transfer in Europe is overall lacking clear processes and focused execution. Support programmes try to overcome these problems by bringing researchers and entrepreneurs together, but this alone has proven to be ineffective. i-techpartner provides a pragmatic answer to Europe's significant innovation challenges. It achieves a high number and high value of investments, partnerships and entrepreneurial commitments between research projects and innovative SMEs throughout Europe, involving investors and corporate partners.

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Science / Business news service point of view regarding the Seventh Framework Program (FP7)

As reported by Cordis news (Oct.10, 2006), Science / Business news service has launched a nine-point innovation manifesto intended to cut to the heart of where Europe is going wrong with its innovation efforts.

It includes recommendations on technology transfer offices, seed investment, fiscal incentives and patents.

In his introduction to the manifesto, Richard Hudson, editor and CEO of Science / Business, questions whether the next 'round of tech subsidies' - the Seventh Framework Program (FP7) - with its bigger budget, will be able to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the market place.

The manifesto states, among other recommendations, that technology transfer offices (TTO's) should be empowered in order to increase their revenue. Today, European TTO's make only 5% of the revenue made by their US counterparts.

This recommendation is in perfect accordance with those I already proposed. See Implementing Innovation Management in an University Technology Transfer Office, 2005.

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