Boosting knowledge transfer in the EU

ec-logoEurope faces two existential challenges: (1) how to create sustainable growth given the vast overhang of public and private debt and (2) how to do this given the transformational impact of disruptive technologies (e.g. the impact of the newly emerging Key Enabling Technologies) on traditional models for business and public sector organizations (e.g. energy and health), banks, universities and public research organizations (PROs). Asia and North America face similar challenges.

Evidence on knowledge transfer (KT) suggests there is still a gap when Europe is compared to the US, even though the Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO) profession has been maturing all over Europe. While Europe performs better than Japan, we see a rising level in China that will become a fierce contender in the knowledge transfer landscape in the decades to come. Furthermore, we see a significant heterogeneity in Europe. Although heterogeneity is present in the US as well, there exist significant differences between European countries, both in terms of the critical mass and professionalism of their KTO functions, such as in their performance, output and impact. Finally, there is room to improve both the breadth and the depth of interactions between Europe’s knowledge institutes and industr ies, although a multitude of interaction patterns are shaping up and taking form. In other words, KT is a two-way street that requires all actors to understand the value added by joint innovation actions.

Click here to read more from this May 2014 European Commission report

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