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National Contact Point for Knowledge Transfer and Intellectual Property

Technology Readiness Level

Innovations undergo various TRLs on their way from the idea to market readiness. As part of this process, research organisations and companies often cooperate between and amongst each other. These partnerships are the interfaces of development – and efficient knowledge transfer is an essential part of this.

The lower TRLs focus on basic technology research – knowledge transfer tends to occur between research partners. At higher TRLs the technology is becoming of increasing interest to industrial partners. That is when questions about appropriate utilisation strategy, suitable exploitation partners and the right transfer models arise.

In Horizon 2020, TRLs play a central role in many programme lines. They are used to determine the increase in the maturity level of the technology during the funding phase. In addition, parts of the programme are only open to certain TRLs, for example to encourage technology transfer between research and industry.

It does not always make sense to identify the readiness level of the development according to this scheme, e.g. for the development of pharmaceuticals (which involve complex and time-consuming approval procedures), or social innovations (see: Communication:  A European strategy for Key Enabling Technologies — A bridge to growth and jobs, English). 

Key enabling technologies

The different Member States have different views on which technologies qualify as key enabling technologies. On the basis of current global research as well as market trends, the Commission proposes to identify technologies as key enabling technologies that are most likely to enhance the competitiveness of EU industry; these include nanotechnology, micro- and nanoelectronics, photonics, advanced materials and biotechnology.

(see: Communication:  A European strategy for Key Enabling Technologies – A bridge to growth and jobs English). 

This text is an excerpt from the NCP-IP brochure “Europäisches Wissen transferieren” (Transferring European Knowledge). .

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