The role of universities in national innovation systems has expanded from the production of scientific knowledge for economic growth to include solving largescale
challenges, such as climate change and energy and addressing social needs.
There are several channels for enhancing the transfer and application of the knowledge generated by academic research such as the mobility of researchers, industry sponsored contract research, entrepreneurial activities, and also effective management of intellectual property (IP). Effective IP management facilitates the transfer of knowledge and helps avoid any incentive bias between researchers and industry that might hamper further value creation.
Without adequate strategies and policy support to manage IP effectively, there is a risk that inventions and ideas produced by universities and public research organisations may not be exploited. Such strategies and policies have therefore become a matter of top priority for policymakers, funding agencies and business, all of whom have a high degree of interest in the ability of universities to diffuse knowledge. Universities in turn have a strong interest in seeing their research put to good use for society and in enhancing their relevance to society, including through collaboration and economic development.
While the prospect of using the commercialisation of IP as a source of additional income for research is not a realistic priority for most universities, IP management remains an important element in any university’s strategy, particularly in the context of the EU Horizon 2020. The different roles, missions and resources of universities and public research organisations can lead to differences in IP policies and commercialisation practices, which can be a driver or a barrier to commercialisation. There is therefore a need for a deeper understanding of their impact on both research and commercialisation.
The conference therefore aims to: