18th November 2016
- 748 collaborative research agreements signed between industry and research organisations in 2015.
- Ireland has highest number of Registered Technology Transfer Professionals (RTTP) per capita in the world
Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) has revealed that 748 new collaborative research agreements - a record number - were signed last year between research performing organisations and industry. Knowledge Transfer Ireland is the national office that helps business to benefit from access to Irish expertise and technology by making it simple to connect and engage with the research base in Ireland. KTI acts as the interface between public research and industry through its web portal and manages the €22.8 million Enterprise Ireland Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative Funding Programme.
The benefits of collaborative research and the ways in which business can advance through research collaboration was discussed at the annual KTI conference today (18th November 2016). A panel of experts from a range of national and international companies and from the Irish research base addressed an audience of over 200 industry and technology transfer professionals. They shared their experience of working together to deliver commercial results, including insights into the benefits of collaborative research and how to address some of the challenges that can arise.
Minister for Skills, Education and Innovation John Halligan TD, Alison Campbell, Director KTI and Karl Flannery, CEO Storm Technology (l to r).
The results of the Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey (AKTS) which tracks engagement and commercialisation activity between the commercial sector and Ireland’s research performing organisations found that in 2015:
- 748 collaborative research agreements were signed representing a 16% increase on 2014.
- 65% of collaboration agreements signed by RPOs (Research Performing Organisations) were with Irish companies.
- 94% of collaborative research agreements with the SME sector were with Irish SMEs.
- There were 1,235 live collaborative research programmes involving RPOs underway at year end.
Speaking at the conference Director of Knowledge Transfer Ireland, Dr Alison Campbell commented, “Knowledge Transfer continues to grow in Ireland. The latest figures around collaborative research – just one aspect of knowledge transfer - are testament to that. We have also seen encouraging growth in the transfer of intellectual property to companies through licensing agreements.” Dr Campbell continued, “And the numbers registered for our conference today indicate that innovation through collaboration with publicly funded research appears to be thriving.”
Dr Campbell also said, “I am delighted that professional support for industry-academic engagement also continues to develop. We now have 34 globally accredited Registered Technology Transfer Professionals (RTTP) in our universities and Institutes of Technology - the highest number of RTTP per capita in the world. Today is about bringing together the knowledge transfer community and industry experts from around the country to highlight the simplest routes to access researcher knowledge and share best practice.”
The conference was opened by Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation John Halligan TD who said, “I am pleased to open this annual conference hosted by Knowledge Transfer Ireland on the theme of research collaboration. Innovation 2020 is a key part of the Government’s strategy to create new jobs and new opportunities through research. Last year the state invested €736m in the research ecosystem in recognition that innovation and research are key drivers of the Irish economy and are crucial for attracting, creating and maintaining high value jobs as well as developing and nurturing a technologically advanced workforce. I am committed to fostering a world class innovation system and greater collaboration between industry and research performing organisations.”
The Keynote Speakers at the KTI Conference 2016 included:
Anil Kokaram, Trinity College Dublin who founded Green Parrot Pictures, a company based on technology developed at Trinity College Dublin that was subsequently acquired by Google. He was awarded an Oscar in 2007 for his work in motion estimation for the cinema post production industry. He shared his insights into the differing approaches to R&D across the three commercial settings – the university, the start-up company and the multinational – and how flexibility is key to success across each.
Maureen Kelly , Consultant Solicitor, Keystone Law. Maureen has helped countless companies and research organisations with the transactions that underpin business-research engagement. Her no-nonsense approach and depth of experience means that parties can either get to where they need to be quickly or understand why they can’t. She shared some of the challenges that she’s encountered in her career - which left the audience in no doubt about why you need a contract in place at the outset.
Rupert Osborn, CEO IP Pragmatics. As CEO of IP Pragmatics, Rupert has provided commercial advice to companies, research providers and policy-makers in a number of developed economies. He reflected on the changes he has seen and provided an insight into how research collaboration cultures are being engineered in different countries.