Commercialisation from State funded investment in research boosted through Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative (TTSI)

  • Enterprise Ireland review of the Irish Technology Transfer System (2013-2016) published
  • Phase 2 of the TTSI programme contributed €14 million to Irish EVA

Dublin, 7 December 2017: Strong performance and a high level of impact has been achieved in the commercialisation of research over last four years according to a report published by Enterprise Ireland today. The review of the performance of the Irish Technology Transfer System (2013 – 2016) is based on independent evaluation of the second phase of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative (TTSI2) programme.

The €22.6 million funding programme was directed to eight consortia of 26 research performing organisations (RPOs): universities; institutes of technology and state research organisations. Through funding for the Technology Transfer Offices in these RPOs, the aim was to develop a broader capability that would respond quickly, flexibly and consistently to the needs of Irish industry thus increasing collaboration with industry, and to enhance the culture of commercialisation amongst researchers in the Irish higher education institutions (HEI) sector.

The evaluation found that the TTSI2 programme aided commercialisation of public research by the 26 RPOs that would not otherwise have been possible and led to the estimated contribution of €16 million EVA. By the end of the programme, RPOs were executing 185 new licences each year and creating 30 new spin-out companies. There was a high level of stakeholder and business satisfaction.

Information from a sample set of Irish companies that had engaged with the research base during the TTSI2 programme showed that by 2017 these companies collectively employed 5,145 FTE, 451 of whom would not have been in employment had it not been for access to technology, Intellectual Property and expertise from the Irish research base through the Technology Transfer Offices. 

At the time the TTSI2 programme commenced, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation mandated the creation of Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) as the national office to support the knowledge and technology transfer system. The evaluation concluded that, as a consequence of KTI’s creation in 2013, there has been significant step-change in quality, confidence and consistency within the system.

Gearóid Mooney, Enterprise Ireland divisional manager for research and innovation said, “Job creation and a strengthened economy as a result of research and innovation is a significant pillar of our remit at Enterprise Ireland and it is the foundation of Knowledge Transfer Ireland.  KTI set out to build a connection between research bodies and businesses and to create a process by which that connection results in business advantage. I am delighted to see this report indicate the scale to which this has been achieved by KTI.”

Alison Campbell, Director of KTI said, “I am very pleased to see the tangible results of TTSI2. We set out to bolster the benefits to business in terms of the commercialisation of research and knowledge transfer, and we now know through this report that the programme has delivered significant value.  Knowledge transfer and technology transfer has advanced in Ireland, and the TTSI2 funding has been pivotal in this.”

Enterprise Ireland approved the third phase of its Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative which commenced this year. The €34.5m investment will be made over five years to help sustain capacity within the Technology Transfer Offices to ensure continuing effective commercialisation of research and to maintain the bridge between the research organisations, businesses and entrepreneurs. This will support the continuing maturity of the knowledge and technology transfer system and Ireland’s strong position in Europe in this arena.