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Technology Transfer: Bridging academic research and society – a communicative approach

To make basic research transcend the walls of a university for the benefit of the society, technology transfer processes such as patenting, market analysis, and economic assessment are essential. Therefore small dedicated units, called technology transfer offices, have emerged during the last four decades. The emergence is a manifestation of a general political intention to make basic research have direct impact on society – to focus on application and publication, and not just the latter. The process is, however, not straightforward and different universities have different way of doing it.

University of Southern Denmark has recently implemented a highly extrovert and progressive science-based communicative strategy providing an adequate framework for a “grass-roots moving” among researchers. By working on four frontlines we aim to ensure high degree of transparency in the technology transfer activities, to demythologize pseudo-idealistic and inadequate perceptions on the role of e.g. patents, to scout early-stage business opportunities, to map the competence landscape of the university and to ensure a three-faceted political alignment.

We here present what we would call the SDU-model of doing technology transfer anno 2012. Despite the short timeline in which it has been implemented we already harvest the early fruits of the model, which encourage us hereby to present the model, its underlying strategy, its rationale and its perspectives. We believe that the model are unique with respect to the holistic four-frontline focus, addresses some of the major challenges of academic technology transfer and we are confident that universities worldwide could benefit from it or a context-dependent modified versions hereof.

Full details at the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology