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Universities and public research institutes play a key role in enabling the application of scientific breakthroughs and innovations in the marketplace. Many countries – developed and developing alike – have implemented national strategies to support the application or commercialization of knowledge produced by public research organizations. Universities and public research institutes have introduced practices to support these activities, for instance by including knowledge transfer to promote innovation as a core part of their mission. As a result, a vital question for policymakers is how to improve the efficiency of these knowledge transfer practices to help maximize innovation-driven growth and/or to seek practical solutions to critical societal challenges. This book aims to develop a conceptual framework to evaluate knowledge transfer practices and outcomes; to improve knowledge transfer metrics, surveys and evaluation frameworks; and to generate findings on what works and what does not, and to propose related policy lessons. This book is also available as Open Access.
Universities and public research institutes are encouraged to collaborate with industries and promote knowledge transfer from academia to the private sector in order to promote commercialization of inventions and to foster innovations that would facilitate economic growth. Patenting research outputs is one way of facilitating this knowledge transfer. This chapter focuses on tracking patenting as a way of measuring performance of public research organizations. The chapter proposes how patent filings across different countries using patent data filed through the Patent Cooperation Treaty can be captured and compared and how national-level patent data can be compiled using the PATSTAT database. The chapter shows that global patenting by public research institutions and universities has increased in the last thirty-five years, with patenting dominance shifting from Europe and the United States to Asia. It shows that while private sector businesses continue to play a major role in global patenting, public research organizations are emerging as important innovation drivers. The chapter concludes that while there are limitations in using patent data and the extent to which it measures innovativeness, these data are still useful in helping to identify potential weaknesses and highlight strengths of public research organizations.
Commercialization of public research to support economic growth involves the transfer of knowledge produced by public research organizations to private sector businesses or government agencies. This chapter describes the diverse range of national and institutional policies and practices implemented across countries to encourage knowledge transfer between public research organizations and firms. The chapter largely focuses on the IP licensing model, highlighting its advantages and disadvantages, and discusses how the costs of IP-mediated knowledge transfer can be minimized. It outlines the main reasons for collecting knowledge transfer metrics for licensing – for benchmarking, for identifying factors that support or hinder knowledge transfer, and for informing policy. The chapter also identifies the most commonly used methods for collecting knowledge transfer metrics, and discusses basic metrics that all countries should collect on the IP licensing model, plus supplementary metrics of relevance to specific policy issues.
Public research and development plays a crucial role in technological advances and development and indirectly contributes to economic growth. Business sectors depend on public research to produce innovations of commercial significance, and many countries have, since the late 1970s, changed their legislation to regulate or facilitate IP ownership and promote increased commercialization of the results of public research. These “third mission” policies were intended to increase the economic effect of public investments in research and development. Maximization of the economic impact of academic research will happen only when the private sector uses and builds on research done in the public sector and when industrial research complements and also guides basic research. The chapter explores cross-country trends in public research and development and outlines the challenges faced by high, middle- and low-income countries in increasing their research and development and knowledge transfer capabilities.