The bioeconomy has a high innovation potential, and it can therefore provide new scientific and technological inventions with potential commercial applications. In order to achieve this high innovation potential and the successful implementation of the bioeconomy, technology transfer needs to be encouraged. For any technology transfer process to succeed, two key steps need to follow. The first step involves the development of a particular idea or invention into an applied application or product. The second key step relates to the final commercialization of the product.
Hence, this research should aim towards: (1) understanding how technology transfer from research facilities to industry applications takes place, (2) analysing factors (enablers and hurdles) influencing the technology transfer process in the bioeconomy, (3) identifying technology transfer instruments (e.g. patents, licenses, start-ups, spin-offs) chosen by bioeconomy researchers to transfer inventions to industry, (4) developing a theoretical framework for measuring technology transfer in the bioeconomy.
To reach the aim of this study, theories and models on technology transfer are being reviewed with the purpose of building a theoretical framework for measuring technology transfer in the bioeconomy. In addition, expert interviews with researchers from the different research areas within the BioSC will be conducted. During the interviews, the experts will be asked to share their experiences on technology transfer, refer to instruments they use to transfer inventions and to report on possible transfer hurdles. Key issue in the interviews is to find out about specific factors influencing the science to business technology transfer in the bioeconomy as well as instruments used to transfer bioeconomy inventions. The results of the interviews will be integrated into the theoretical framework. Finally, a workshop with participants, e.g. from industry, start-ups founders, and technology transfer office representatives will be carried out to apply and validate the developed framework.
This research project sets a basis for socio-economic research that is necessary for a successful bioeconomy strategy. It contributes to the understanding of how technology transfer occurs and which obstacles to technology transfer exist in the bioeconomy. Based on the theoretical framework, empirical research on technology transfer effectiveness can be conducted. Moreover, we strive to utilize the findings of this white paper for future research projects under the BMBF BioEconomy funding scheme. Hence, in future research projects the technology transfer effectiveness measures can be utilized to empirically assess the technology transfer effectiveness of research institutions and technology transfer offices within the BioSC.