Technology Transfer Office

Technology transfer, also called transfer of technology, is the process of transferring skills, knowledge, technologies, methods of manufacturing, samples of manufacturing and facilities among governments or universities and other institutions to ensure that scientific and technological developments are accessible to a wider range of users who can then further develop and exploit the technology into new products, processes, applications, materials or services.

The role of a Technology Transfer Office (TTO) in the process of technology transfer is to support cooperation between the scientific community and the industry as well as to identify research which has potential commercial interest and strategies for how to exploit it.

Following is the list of some main supporting activities that TTOs carry out with firms:

Creating awareness, education and publicity

Providing education and training to researchers about the technology transfer process (intellectual property, business activities, project management)
Organizing seminars, workshops, conferences and other events
Preparing and distributing informative brochures and monthly newsletters

Evaluating patentable ideas

Assisting researchers in making an initial assessment concerning patentability, technical feasibility, and commercial potential of the invention
Assessing the potential to licence to an existing company or create a new business start-up
Providing assistance with completing the initial market definition and assessment
Reviewing draft papers before journal submission to check for patentable subject matter

Identifying funding opportunities and support programmes

Identifying possible sources of funding available to commercialize technology
Assisting with preparations of project applications

Fostering university-industry collaboration

Enabling contacts and upgrading links between universities and industry (debates, open days, etc.)
Seeking commercial partners for contractual research
Identifying candidate companies that have the expertise, resources, and business networks to bring the technology to market
Establishing, initiating and updating databases of potential contacts
Building up a network with other technology transfer centres in and outside the country

Intellectual Property (IP) management and licensing

Providing general information and consulting in the area of intellectual property rights
Performing data base searches (prior art searches, etc.)
Providing assistance in drafting institutional policies, strategies and internal regulations and procedures connected with intellectual property rights (from making the invention public to licensing)
Providing administrative and legal support
Providing assistance with selecting a patent strategy and preparing a patent application
Providing advice to inventors or research groups in negotiating legal contracts (licenses and know-how agreements) with industrial partners

Supporting start-up and spin-off companies

Providing assistance with the establishment of the start-up team and making sure that the proper mix of skills, knowledge, experience, and personalities are evident in the start-up team
Preparing a business plan and crafting a viable business strategy
Providing assistance with legal issues when starting a business
Providing assistance with prototype development
Helping start-up and spin-off companies to reach the funds