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National Contact Point for Knowledge Transfer and Intellectual Property

What is knowledge transfer?

Whereas the focus used to be on classic technology transfer, the buzzword today is "knowledge exchange". The exchange of knowledge in all directions is thus becoming increasingly important. The approaches to knowledge transfer outlined below come close to a definition.

Approach 1:

“Knowledge transfer (KT) is a concept used broadly to describe the flow of (scientific) knowledge between research organisations and business, with the objective of creating socio-economic impact through promoting better use of the (public) research base. Nowadays the term ‘knowledge exchange’ is used instead to reflect the fact that the flow of knowledge is neither one-dimensional in the direction ‘research organisation to industry’, nor only between the players on this scale. This concept evolution generally reflects the subsequent change of perception of the research–business interaction from a linear and one-dimensional flow to a complex structured process involving many different players – academic institutions, enterprises, governmental agencies and municipalities, and communities. In short, KT is about treating public research as a strategic resource in transferring and applying basic research into marketable products and services.”

Source: Boosting Open Innovation and Knowledge Transfer in the European Union, 2014, English, 76 pp

Approach 2:

“Knowledge transfer involves the processes for capturing, collecting and sharing explicit and tacit knowledge, including skills and competence. It includes both commercial and non-commercial activities such as research collaborations, consultancy, licensing, spin-off creation, researcher mobility, publication, etc. While the emphasis is on scientific and technological knowledge other forms such as technology-enabled business processes are also concerned.”

Source: Improving Knowledge Transfer between Research Institutions and Industry across Europe, 2007, English, 34 pp

Approach 3:

“Knowledge transfer covers all activities related to the transfer of knowledge between the knowledge sender and the knowledge receiver. This happens either directly or via intermediaries. Knowledge transfer is not a linear process, but a reciprocal exchange between the transfer partners.”

Source: erorganisationaler Wissenstransfer, Zusammenarbeit zwischen Forschungseinrichtungen und KMU, Springer Gabler, ISBN 978-3-658-00927-4, 2013, German

But what does this mean in practice? You can find more information here:

Types of knowledge transfer

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