CERN Technology Transfer (poročilo CERN TT za leto 2007)
High-energy physics needs very sophisticated instruments using technologies that often exceed the available industrial know-how. Many of these technologies have made our daily lives more efficient, practical and comfortable. CERN encourages technology transfer, or generally speaking the access to technologies, expertise and industrial processes to universities, laboratories and industries. Technology dissemination and implementation The dissemination and implementation process reflects truly successful TT. This activity requires a formal framework, however, such as an agreement that corresponds to the maturity of the technology concerned and the readiness of the acquirers. The stages of ‘proof of concept’, ‘prototyping’ and ‘technology acquiring’ will be executed as necessary. In order to draft a suitable agreement, close collaboration is needed between the TT group, the technical experts, the external collaborators and those involved in the contract circulation procedure. The agreement tool may encompass pre-competitive collaborative R&D, partnerships, licences and services, and external funding.
Phases in the development of technologies and projects
Število patentov v CERNU
3.1 The case of CERN TT Office
Figure 1: CERN. Number of patent cases and licensing per year.
CERN with approximately 3000 employees (and estimated up to 3 times more external collaborators) has a total budget of 1'075 mio CHF (approx 675 mio EUR) in 2008 coming from its 20 member states. The CERN TT Office earns approximately 0.3% of this budget by TT licensing agreements (Le Goff, 2007). This means more than 3 mio CHF or more than 2 mio EUR. Since the TT Office was founded the number of proposed patents has increased by a factor of 3. However, a net number of patented disclosures has remained the same with an increase of income from licensing agreements, as can be seen also from Fig. 1.
IJS 1 Analysis of the Situation at the Jožef Stefan Institute
Analysis showed that three different types of technology transfer policies (TT policies) take place within the Jožef Stefan Institute Technology Transfer Office (TT Office). 1."Helping SME's" is a policy to improve innovation strategies through the Sixth Framework Program (FP6) - Innovation Relay Center (IRC Slovenia) project, following its predecessor the FEMIRC project, operating since 1997, and similar projects. IRC's goal is in assisting companies and research institutions to reach agreements on research and technology cooperation. This is done with standard tools such as visiting companies and researchers, identification of their technology offers and needs, formulation of offers and requests to be ready for European IRC database of technology offers and requests. In the past few years this was the main course of work of the Institute TT Office (Šušteršič, 2008). 2."Technological assistance" to the industry and interested third parties in form of consultancy and expert work is the second policy, operating at the Institute. This activity has been well developed during the last years through different projects of the Institute and the TT Office. 3.Technology transfer "from the Institute to the Industry" (the "inside out TT" policy) is a policy, aiming at locating a powerful technology, assessing it from technological and market point of view and finding partners in industry for further development and/or licensing. This is an important activity, however it has been under-focused in the past within the TT Office activities.
Analysis showed that the “inside out TT” is supported by providing three steps: 1.Technology assessment and IP protection, including Market assessment for each technology proposed for patenting, to estimate its potential value and locate potential partners (Tschirky, 2003; Le Goff, 2007-2); 2.Technology Promotion; 3.Dissemination through TT R&D projects, leading to licensing IPR to the industry or through start-up companies.
Depending on the phase of development, the technology in question can be either ready for exploitation or requires maturity before a transfer can be achieved. 1.If technology needs maturity before it can be transferred, TT R&D projects – partnerships with industry - are required to increase industry interest and secure external resources for such activities. Only joint IP expertise, financial, human and laboratory resources enable sufficient technology development. 2.If technology is ready for exploitation it can be - licensed or transferred via know-how transfer agreements - produced and provided to the industry via supply agreements - provided through consultancy agreements when a unique experience of some of the Institute staff is to be provided outside the Institute.
“Inside out TT” is not to be confused with technology collaboration or "ready-made TT", especially within the IRC project.
1. A comparison between NCSU, CERN and Jožef Stefan Institute
The Jožef Stefan Institute has a budget of almost 39 mio EUR (in 2006) (Šušteršič, 2007) and approximately 800 employees. A study of sources in (Letno poročilo, 1996-2007) gives information about patenting on the Institute. There are on average (of the last 12 years) 10.6 patents (6.8 Slovene and 3.8 foreign) granted per year, with an increase in the last years (in 2006 10 Slovene and 9 foreign patents were obtained). To draw reliable conclusions, particular patented technologies should be tracked through time. Preliminary results are however given in Fig. 2 and 2A.
Figure 2: Jožef Stefan Institute. Number of patent cases per year filed and obtained in Slovenia.
For the Institute to be comparable with the NCSU (with a 5 times larger research fund) 40 patent disclosures should be made at the Institute every year, 22 patents should be obtained and 8 license deals done.
Figure 2A: Jožef Stefan Institute. Number of foreign patent cases per year filed and obtained. Data may not be complete, as some patents are filed through foreign partners.
Due to Legislation differences between US and EU, a more instructive comparison can be made with a TT Office of a research institution within the EU – e.g. TT Office at CERN. The research budget of the Institute is for a factor of 17 smaller than the budget of CERN. The number of Slovene patents obtained at the Institute is equivalent to the one of CERN. Proportionally at CERN with 3000 employees there are up to 0.2 patents/100 employees obtained every year, whereas at the Institute on average 1.3 patents (0.47 foreign) /100 employees per year are obtained. The institute in this respect is more open to patenting than CERN.
In terms of research money spent per patent at NCSU a 2 mio EUR of research money is invested per obtained patent per year and a yearly return from licensing is 1.2% of the yearly research funds. In the case of CERN a 112 mio EUR of research money is invested per obtained patent a year and an approximately 0.3% of the yearly research funds is returned in the form of licenses. In the case of the Jožef Stefan Institute a foreign patent is produced every 10.1 mio EUR of research money, exact data about revenues from licensing is not available.
It can be noted that at NCSU in 2006 50% (~100 out of 200) and at CERN on average in the last 7 years 18% (26 out of 144) of disclosed technologies proposed for patenting were actually patented. At the Institute in the last 10 years more than 90% of all officially proposed technologies have been patented. This is due to a specific patent proposal treatment, where no internal proposal is issued until technology has been positively evaluated. However, this evaluation is not produced systematically and data about patents internally filed is not available.
IPR protection principles and licensing strategy of CERN and NCSU is based on Technology and Market Assesments (Tschirky, 2003; Le Goff, 2007-2). These serve as input data for evaluation of proposed patents (by a Commission of scientific and legal experts (Regulations, 1998)) and facilitate patenting decisions. Assesments are introduced in (Regulations, 1998) but are not a regular praxis of the Institute TT Office.
1 Comparison of IJS TT and CERN TT Office employees education
To understand IPR protection strategies and licensing principles of the Institute, an overview of development of Jožef Stefan Institute TT Office staff from 1994 to present (Fig. 3) is shown. Also a comparison of the 2007 Institute TT Office data with the case of the CERN TT Office (Le Goff, 2007-2) is made (Fig. 4). A number of staff with university degree, but no scientific education was gradually increasing at the Institute TT Office, with the peak in 2006. Comparing this configuration to the CERN TT Office staff configuration we can see that the quantities of Economists and BSc's are reversed as at the Institute. The Institute TT Office employees 3 times more Economists than BSc's, whereas CERN employs 3 times more Bsc's than Economists in the TT Office. This might be a potential reason why Technology and Market Assessments and licensing according to (Tschirky, 2003; Le Goff, 2007-2) are not a regular practice as a support to the Commission of scientific and legal experts (Regulations, 1998).
Figure 3: Institute Jožef Stefan. Staff of Technology Transfer Office by education from 1994 to 2007. (Up to 2004 1 BSc with a MSc degree.)
Figure 4: Institute Jožef Stefan and CERN, 2007. A comparison of staff of the Technology Transfer Office by education. (IJS: Up to 2004 1 of the BSc with a MSc degree. CERN: 1 BSc with an MBA.)
PODROBNEJŠI OPIS MANJŠIH PRIMEROV
Malta - Higher Education Institutes and SME collaboration This first example illustrates how a region with little history in the field of knowledge transfer has addressed the situation. In Malta there are two Higher Education Institutions, the University of Malta and the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST). The MCAST is mainly a vocational college. The University of Malta is the only institution that can confer degrees. There are no private research institutes. The University of Malta was established in 1592 whilst the MCAST was re-established in 2001. Traditionally both of these institutions are mostly oriented at teaching rather than research and it was only in the past 20 years or so that a major effort has been made to increase the research output of the University of Malta. This has resulted in the setting up of a number of applied (and basic) research centres in particular within the Engineering, Physics, Alternative Energy, Pharmacy and Medical departments. In view of its relative infancy, the MCAST is still oriented mostly at teaching required in new economy skills within the vocational group, though plans to start research programmes are in hand. Though successful within the European Framework Programmes, there are still no structured Academic/Industry relationships – with most of the research in collaboration with industry occurring on an ad-hoc basis. Plans are presently at hand to address this situation. These plans include the following: 1. The re-organisation of the University Commercial Entities into one group of companies – Malta University Holding Company Ltd. In this way it is envisaged that the Academic-Industry relationship is brokered through this company. 2. The formulation of new strategy plan for the University together with the re-organisation of the administrative sector of the University including the setting up of a Knowledge Transfer Office. 3. Structural Funds are being sought to strengthen the University expertise in areas that are important for the new knowledge driven economy, which are at present missing. 4. The University (and the MCAST) is actively seeking partnerships with foreign institutes and industry. Knowledge Transfer implies at least a two way interaction i.e. interaction between industry and the academic world. The Maltese SMEs are mostly service oriented, family-run, micro enterprises with their major concern being to tap new markets and master new technology – with little emphasis on developing their own original product/service. They also have a low awareness of funding opportunities or perceived difficulty in applying for funds. There are no organised networks of firms that permit reciprocal exchange of knowledge and information.
Plans are at hand between Malta Council for Science and Technology, Malta Enterprise, Federation of Industries, MCAST and the University to utilise structural funds and other funding programmes to set up projects that should: • instil entrepreneurial ethos on campus and encourage spin-offs; • improve the marketing of facilities and services; • improve inter-company cooperation between SMEs (at present around 16%); • set up Science and Technology centres and attract foreign research and technology oriented companies (a major initiative has been the formation of SmartCity); • set up industrial clusters; • introduce Public Technology Procurement.
Hamburg - CAN (Centre for Applied Nanotechnology): CAN offers a new approach to knowledge transfer activities in the region of Hamburg as it is an institution embedded in a cluster and targeted at SMEs and their technology needs. It was established in November 2005 as a PPP, as a joint venture by the Free and Hansestadt Hamburg, the University of Hamburg, several firms, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and the Hamburger Sparkasse. The focus of the CAN activities is the utilisation of new findings in chemical nanotechnology and nanoanalysis especially in the areas of consumables, specialty polymers and health care. CAN is a link between universities and firms with respect of the special needs of smaller firms. CAN experts carry out contract research and development projects in cooperation with the university. CAN offers to process small orders and perform feasibility studies in order to enable SMEs to incorporate the latest findings in nanoparticle technology into existing or planned production processes. In 2006 CAN acquired 18 development and support orders for industrial nanotechnological application with a sales volume of approximately €900,000. The staff of 6 employees at the beginning of 2006 has now grown to 15 and is expected to grow to a size of 50 by the year 2010.
Iceland - University Regional Research Centre Institute Iceland is a relatively large country but sparsely populated with a population of 312,000. Approximately two thirds of the population live in the south west, in the Reykjavík area, and the rest is spread along the coast, There are eight universities in Iceland, four in the Reykjavík area and four outside the capital area. The University of Iceland, founded in 1911, is by far the largest university; it is a public, state-run university that aims at serving the whole country. To meet the demands of the inhabitants for local university education and research, the University Institute of Regional Research Centres was founded in 2003. The objectives of the Institute are to meet the demand for research and education all over Iceland, to connect the University to regional industry, and to enhance research conducted by the University of Iceland all around the country by: • providing facilities for university personnel for research projects dealing with local environmental conditions/local enterprise; • providing facilities for student field work; • to enhance possibilities for education in rural areas; • to strengthen the University of Iceland’s relationship with local enterprise and daily life in rural areas. Eight research centres have been established strategically around the country. Each centre is set up in collaboration with the local authorities and local industry, using the triple helix model in financing and governing, i.e. state, local authorities, private institutions/companies. The centres also cooperate with other local institutes, for example the local Regional Natural History Institutes which they frequently share offices with. The desired synergy effect is 2+2 = 5! The economic impacts of the regional research centres are: • more skilled work done in the regions; • fewer people move away from the regions; • more opportunities for young people in the regions; • one researcher + spouse + children = multiple impact on society; • money put into regional research goes to the region. The Regional Research Centres can be a solution for small regions, where a critical mass is needed to connect local research and industry.
SEEDA Region - The Business Fellow Network - Knowledge Transfer through Brokering The London Technology Network (LTN) Recruit, train and support 36+ research scientists covering top science & technology departments in the SEEDA region. The network supports Business Fellows to map departmental business-relevant capability and capacity and act as contact points for Knowledge Transfer offices & LTN. It expects Business Fellows to stimulate their colleague’s engagement with businesses and report evidence of “added value” and “pro-activity”. In conjunction with all of the above, LTN provides the following services which provide a forum/ channel for business fellows to interact with regional businesses. Networking Events – “Business Application” focused and Technology matchmaking For the project as a whole, the approach to evaluation and performance measurement has been structured along four dimensions: contact and awareness-raising; engagement; impact; and satisfaction. Total investment in R&D in the SEEDA region, including investment by businesses based elsewhere, is expected to reach £8 - £9million. SEEDA regional challenges: 1. Perceived or existing barriers to innovation can hinder businesses from innovating regardless of demand. Barriers perceived by businesses are mainly related to cost factors, such as innovation costs and economic risks, as well as the need to meet government and EU regulations. 2. Poor demand from the SME market highlights a lack of interest and understanding of the implications of innovating through knowledge transfer.
The following is a Nanotechnology/Life Science Case Study, i.e. an example of a “user of LTN”. Trace analysis company Mesophotonics made contact with the London technology Network (LTN) to broaden the application of their products – the beginning of a relationship that has seen three successful collaborations with universities across London and the South East. Mesophotonics’ R&D manager Majd Zoorob met London Technology Network, the Southampton-based company was seeking pharmaceutical applications for their novel product – an advanced sensor technique. LTN’s technology team helped refine Mesophotonics’ technology request and presented a list of academics working in the field. From that report the company chose two researchers, one from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering (Imperial College London), and the other from the London Centre for Nanotechnology (University College London).
At this stage the company sought further assistance – to help analyse their sensors in new ways. The new request was sent out to LTN’s broad network of academic contacts – resulting in successful contact being made with Richard Curry of the Advanced Technology Institute (University of Surrey). Mesophotonics are now able to access the facilities of the University’s Focus Ion Beam (FIB) to further develop the technology. Mesaphotonics said LTN really helped narrow down the options, rather than looking blindly and wasting resource to find the right match. LTN helped optimise the searching and provided a Technology Analyst with sector specific expertise. The language barrier between the two technologies was effectively bridged by the LTN service. Other interesting programmes presented by the regional actors aimed at increasing the links to SMEs using further education and training organisations to break down the barriers and help SMEs access knowledge transfer activities and actors included the Swedish Better concept, the Northern Ireland FUSION & CONNECTED project and the German PVA (Patent Valorisation Agency) concept developed in the region around Rostock (Mecklenburg Pommerania).
Västra Götaland Region: The Better Concept The “better concept” is an interesting practice on how the region can promote further training of SME employees and build confidence between university colleges and local SMEs. It focuses on competence development for SMEs by developing and giving free of charge university distance learning courses. The key element of the project is the demand driven approach referring to the real life problems that SMEs face in their daily work. The Six Better Criteria developed by the concept designers (three universities of the Västra Götaland region) makes the courses unique in Sweden. Being demand driven and applying knowledge gained during the courses are two of them. Another innovative feature is that SMEs are encouraged to send groups of participants, a sine quoi non condition for effective knowledge transfer performance. The budget for the development of courses represents €200 k yearly. The running expenses are covered by the universities. The Universities also ensure the external communication and promotion. They are limited however by the available time of senior lecturers necessary to deliver the courses. In terms of main outcomes: 13 courses have been developed; the courses were given 27 times during 4 years for 830 participants (very high level of attendance) in 26 municipalities. The project work in the courses results in measurable improvements. ”Better Production” course generates a total of € 250 k yearly! The concept achieved good visibility: one more university in Sweden has joined the programme. To date of 830 participants in the programme 90%+ have completed the courses. Credits count towards Life Long Learning accreditation.
Northern Ireland: FUSION and ‘CONNECTED’ – THE HIGHER EDUCATION/FURTHER EDUCTION COLLABORATION FUND Promoting the transfer and embedding technology in SMEs on a cross-border basis is at the heart of the joint Northern Ireland / Ireland initiative FUSION launched in 2001 and delivered through InterTradeIreland. FUSION links regions (all-Ireland coverage), and knowledge transfer actors: companies with technology based development needs, academic institutes and graduates. More that 200 projects have been supported during the period 2001-2007. Altogether the programme has provided assistance totalling €19.4m which has levered an estimated additional €24m from industry. The “CONNECTED” collaboration Fund, a new NI financial mechanism that has just been put in place (April 2007) aims to extend the range and depth of knowledge transfer collaboration between NI’s higher and further education sectors. The primary focus is on the needs of regional business. The investment represents £3 m over three years and is dedicated to supporting the activities referring to knowledge transfer from the universities and FE colleges into business; new technology focused on the generation of solutions to real world problems (including training in their application); and networking promotion, staff exchanges and placements between the universities and the further education colleges. The key philosophy behind the project is that sometimes it is best for small SMEs to start working at a local level (with FE colleges) before contacting major university research teams. A growth path of technology transfer support can then be mapped out and in some cases FEs can act as a broker for other technology transfer actors.
PVA-MV (po EC.Knowledge_Transfer)
The patent Valorisation Agency (PVA - MV ) In the German region of Mecklenbourg-Pomerania, PVA-MV (Patent Valorisation Agency), a private company, was set up by a group of nine research centres and universities and a private specialised innovation consultancy company (inno AG), in order to gain value from research results. PVA-MV ensures the detection of inventions, the evaluation of the maturity of projects (market, proof of concept), intellectual protection and market implementation. The typical outputs (figures up to 2006) are shown below: • 153 inventions detected • 70 patents • 57 patent opportunities • 25 patent agreements • € 88,288 royalties • € 60 m research projects co financed by the private sector • 8 start-ups created Figure 6: PVA structure This activity is supported by a foundation, put in place using the remainder of the structural funds not used in the region (around € 2 million) and in preparing itself to Innovating Regions in Europe (IRE) Secretariat 38 receive a portion of the structural funds to come (2007-2013). It also depends upon a private investment fund, MORE, created under a PVA-MV initiative and which brings together investors ready to invest in start-ups. To date, a portfolio of 8 have been supported. Another interesting approach discussed during the meetings concerned the growing role of private and public-private initiatives that have taken the form of research or innovation/valorisation foundations. For example, in France the Pierre de Genes Foundation has been created to detect and support high technology start ups emerging from a selected number of engineering schools and universities. The new approaches are often inter-disciplinary and are searching for innovative ideas at the crossroads of traditional research fields. Such foundations are also very active in Sweden and Germany is showing interest, for example the new elite university of Karlsruhe has just supported the creation of a new foundation. The multi-disciplinary approach is also being promoted in the research field with new joint laboratories mixing “hard science” and social sciences or management fields to be more responsive to business needs. Working Group members all agreed that this was an interesting policy area requiring further research.
SLIKA: EC. Knowledge_Transfer, str. 37