2 - Knowledge transfer between Universities and Business

2.7 - Generating transfer catalysts


Clearly, the success of a region in terms of knowledge transfer depends on many factors including its entrepreneurial initiative, the strategy of its Universities, and its public development policies. The world's most advanced regions in this respect have encouraged and facilitated the creation of organisations and entities which act as effective catalysts in the dynamisation of collaboration between industry and university, developing Innovation systems which are characterised by their strength and high level of efficiency.


The Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT Germany)

 The Knowledge transfer and commercialisation activities developed by the Karlsruher Institute für Technologie (KIT) form the cornerstones of the region’s development policy. The success of the region is based on the high concentration of specialised research and education centres, which have established close connections with industry through a series of catalysts such as business clubs, conferences, organised networks, clusters, etc.

The Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HSK) has created technology transfer centres for the fields of aerospace engineering, biomedicine, generation and distribution of electricity, energy efficiency and optoelectronics and sensors, which has led to a high degree of practical specialisation in these fields. The University’s specific transfer office focuses especially on SMEs, and its main objective is the development of new products at a low cost.

The KIT also focuses on specialisation, concentrating most of its energy on specific pre-established areas and centres. Its definition of Innovation is based on three essential ideas: exchange of personnel, transfer of ideas, and business development. The research work and subsequent transfer potential is defined by two complementary processes, one of which is top-down and clearly defines the strategic and research approaches in the centres, and the other which is bottom-up and makes the system more flexible and approachable for researchers. The transfer of knowledge and ideas is mainly supported by ICTs and technology marketing.

Apart from the institutions already mentioned there are also numerous other centres in the region of Karlsruhe which specialise in assisting researchers to set up their own Companies to commercialise their technological developments.

 PRES, France (further details in recommendation 10.5)

 Two initiatives with proven success as transfer catalysts have been developed in France:

The PRES (research and higher education centres), which have succeeded in grouping all the different kinds of French knowledge organisations (Universities, laboratories, research centres, regional councils, Grands écoles, etc.) under single umbrella institutions. This cohesion has led to a significant improvement in knowledge transfer and valorisation.

Pôles de Compétitivité or business clusters group together companies, research laboratories and training centres which work together in a specific area to develop synergies and partnerships, thereby acting as important transfer catalysts. In France, they have been instrumental in facilitating knowledge transfer between Universities and businesses, working towards common goals in each specific region.

Implementation process

Agents required for implementation

To implement an innovation system with the characteristics of those described above it is necessary for regional stakeholders to participate in the creation of systems which can act as catalysts. On the one hand Companies can form groups to exert pressure, or, on the other, seek support from Universities and regional institutions in developing the initiatives.

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  1. University relationships in the Valencian Technology and Innovation Transfer System. Juan M. Andrés Bort, Agustín Escardino Benlloch, Vicente Orts Ríos - Universitat Jaume I.
  2. http://competitivite.gouv.fr/- Business clusters, France.
  3. http://www.hs-karlsruhe.de/servlet/PB/menu/1019023/index.html Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Germany.
  4. http://www.stw.de/en/home.html?no_cache=1- Hochschule Karlsruhe - Technik und Wirtschaft,  Germany.
  5. http://www.technologieregion-karlsruhe.de - Technology Region of Karlsruhe, Germany.
  6. http://www.keim.de/- Karlsruhe Institut Technologies.
  7. http://www.kit.edu/english/index.php - Karlsruhe Institut Technologies.
  8. http://www.univ-lille-nord-de-france.fr/ - University of Lille, France.