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About NCP-IP

Background Info

Like the classical technology transfer was once the focus, nowadays we speak of the “knowledge exchange”. The exchange of knowledge in all social directions is therefore increasingly at the forefront. The approaches to knowledge transfer listed in the following come very close to a definition.

Approach 1:

Knowledge transfer is generally understood to be the exchange of knowledge between research facilities and enterprises to achieve a socio-economic impact through the efficient use of the (public) research location. The description “knowledge exchange” is often used to take account of the fact that the knowledge is neither flowing one-dimensionally “from the science in the industry”, nor is it exclusively between actors of this size. The development of a concept reflects the sustainable change in the perception of relationships between science and economics, away from a linear and/or one-dimensional flow through to a complex, structured process that involves many different actors - academic institutions, enterprises, government agencies, municipalities and communities. In short, knowledge transfer is the use of public research as a strategic resource in the application of basic research and in the transfer of marketable products and services.”

Approach 2:

Knowledge transfer contains the process of recording, collecting and sharing explicit or implicit knowledge, inclusive of capabilities and skills. It includes commercial and non-commercial activities like research collaboration, consultation, licensing, founding of spin-offs, researcher mobility, publications, and many more. The focus is on scientific and technological knowledge; but other forms, like technology-supported business processes are also considered.

Approach 3:

Knowledge transfer encompasses all activities for the transfer of knowledge between the knowledgeable party and the knowledge recipient. This either occurs directly or via an intermediary. Knowledge transfer is not a linear process; however, it is a reciprocal exchange between the transfer partners. In this context, the significance of the active integration of different parts of business, like in the context of citizen science and participative citizen integration processes, increases.

Technology transfer

The phrase technology transfer is older and more narrowly defined than knowledge transfer. It tends to focus on the transfer from the higher education and research facilities in the direction of economics and industry. The technologies are transferred. The main objective is the support of universities and research facilities in their role as knowledge providers through the protection, licensing and commercialisation of their knowledge. The change of universities from pure knowledge providers to shapers of knowledge creation and innovation processes, from a linear model to a systemic model, requires wider support than simply technology-oriented support. This broader understanding of the role of universities has led to the development of Knowledge Transfer Offices (KTO). They have the objective of active knowledge participation.

Information transfer

Information transfer refers to the processing of publications and patents, as well as the transmission of contacts, contact partners, staff and experts.

Personnel transfer

“Personnel transfers describes the two-part or even long-term collaboration of [researchers and technical personnel in enterprises and/or of employees in industrial research and development departments] in research facilities. With the founding of a spin-off, therefore the spin-off of a new enterprise from an existing organisation, both personnel transfer and technology transfer coincide. Valuable synergies can often be used through information exchange with the higher education institution. The European funding programmes supported primarily supported personnel transfers through the Marie Sklodowska-Curie measures.

Opening and provision of factual goods and infrastructure

The opening and provision of factual goods and infrastructure means that collaborative partners may use the apparative facilities, laboratories, tools, plants and infrastructure of the organisation. This type of transfer is especially of significance to SMEs if they are unable to acquire their own equipment or devices for reasons of cost, or where a particular device is missing or a device is to be initially tested for the test procedure. Equipment transfer can therefore present an additional transfer service from scientific facilities, which would support the enterprise in which the factual goods are available.

Communal research facilities

In these facilities both researchers of the higher education institutions and those from industry can work together on complementary research matters. In doing so, enterprises can also limit themselves to the role of a pure granting authority. Spatial proximity as a foundation to strengthened interactions is among the basic principles of this collaborative form.

Open Innovation is defined by opening the organisational boundaries of the company. This offer organisations the opportunity of an inflow of expertise from outside, or even the creation of new opportunities for use, not previously considered.

Strengthen own developments

With outside-in innovations, the enterprise opens itself up to external innovators or market information groups to obtain market information, ideas, solutions, technologies or feedback. The integration of external knowledge extends the thought-horizon with the interdisciplinary development of new solutions. The extended access to external resources also opens the option to reduce innovative risk.

Through the inclusion of customers, user experiences and needs are gathered directly from the market. With this, the direction and development of a solution can occur close to the market and increases the rate of success.

Digital crowdsourcing platforms network interested user circles and the previously dormant knowledge, expertise and skills are made visible.

In an ideal scenario, personnel recruiting measures can even be derived from this.

Open Innovation help to positively influence marketing and the visibility of innovation initiatives by, for example, presenting new projects to different stakeholders.

New opportunities for own developments

With inside-out open innovations, the enterprise tries to share existing internal knowledge with the external environment and, as a result, new,external sales opportunities for the utilisation of own technologies can be found and/or technologies even outside the current business model can be utilised. This can lead to establishing spin-offs or to out-licensing.

Inside-Out Open Innovations can boost the growth of whole markets, which benefits every market participant within the respective area.

Innovation culture

The innovation activity within an enterprise is determined, to a large extent, by an innovation-promoting culture. This culture is above all characterised by management, which can contribute through the exemplification of values and the disposition of resources to the development of an innovation culture. Through the activation of internal and external resources, management can strengthen the integration service of an enterprise and force a quick transfer of innovations into marketable products. A modern enterprise culture permits experiments and failures, can deal with uncertainty and errors, and ensures purposefully to use the external knowledge profitably.

The handling of their own intellectual property and that of innovation partners plays a crucial role in this. This must be clearly defined and made transparent for all.

To enter into the matter of Open Innovation, you should therefore ask the question at the outset: how will opening the innovation process and the integration of external partners fit in with the active handling of knowledge, and what measures are required?

Open innovation strategy

Austria is the first European Member State to have developed an extensive national open innovation strategy. In the course of a wide participation process in which not only stakeholder from research, science and economics were involved, but also those from the civilian population, the strategy was created. Alongside an analysis of the national and international status quo on the matter of open innovation, this includes a vision for 2025 and concrete measures for implementation. More information about the implementation of the OI strategy and the strategy as a download, can be found here.

The phrase “intellectual property” (IP) includes the property rights to creations of the human intellect (for example, innovations, know-how, software). The phase “industrial property rights” refers to the overall rights, which protect these individual intellectual services, like the patent and utility model law in relation to innovations or the copyright in relation to works of science, literature and art (including software).

Both the protection of intellectual property and the knowledge transfer are targeted to utilisation. In order to generate economical added-value, the exchange of knowledge is at the forefront with knowledge transfer. Ideas, technologies or innovations that are protected by rights to intellectual property are normally utilised at a later point in time. The protection of IP and knowledge transfer is therefore a complementary approach, which contributes to the same objective: For innovation and creativity protection rights are of great significance - who has afforded themselves development projects for years when copying is far cheaper? 

In doing so, the European IPR strategy is trying to fulfil the requirements of modern media consumption, like the internet, in relation to IP matters. A new balance needs to be generated between the guarantee of appropriate remuneration for inventions and innovations on the one hand, and the funding of access as a wide as possible to products and services on the other hand.

Innovations are of great significance to growth, work and societal challenges. To support this, an investment-friendly regulation framework is important.

Austrian IP strategy

On 14 February 2017, the Austrian Federal Government concluded a strategy for intellectual property (IP) for the first time. The objective of this strategy is to support Austrian enterprises, higher education institutions, research facilities and innovators to best protect their innovation, to utilise them and as a result, to strengthen the scientific and economical location. Professional conduct with IP across a broad level presents an essential prerequisite for the rise of Austria to an innovation leader. More information and the complete IP strategy available to download here


On the path from the idea to market maturity, the innovation undergoes different TRLs. In doing so, research organisations and enterprises frequently collaborate among and with one another. These collaborations are the junctures in the development - well functioning knowledge transfer is essential with this.

At lower TRL levels, the fundamental research of technology is still the focal point - knowledge transfer tends to occur between research partners. At higher TRL levels, the researched technology is of increasing interest to industry partners. At the latest at this point, the question is raised regarding an appropriate utilisation strategy, fitting utilisation partners and suitable transfer models.

It is not always worthwhile indicating the maturity degree of the development according to this type of scheme, like for example with the development of medicinal products that are accompanied with complicated and expensive approval procedures, or with social innovations.

Description of the stages:

  • TRL 1: Observation and description of the functional principle
  • TRL 2: Description of the application of a technology
  • TRL 3: Evidence of the functional efficiency of a technology 
  • TRL 4: Trial development in the laboratory
  • TRL 5: Trial development in application environment
  • TRL 6: Prototype in application environment
  • TRL 7: Prototype in use 
  • TRL 8: Qualified system with evidence of functional efficiency in the area of application
  • TRL 9: Qualified system with evidence of successful application
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