Policy approaches regarding technology transfer: Portugal and Switzerland compared
The environment in which technology transfer takes place plays a key role in defining the best approaches and, ultimately, their success. In the present paper we analyse the extent to which Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) efficiency is influenced by framework conditions and, in particular, by the innovation policies and programmes. We hypothesise that countries with higher technology transfer efficiency levels would have innovation policies more supportive to technology transfer efforts. Results based on an in depth account and statistical analysis of over 60 innovation policies from Switzerland (widely associated to high levels of technology transference efficiency) and Portugal (a laggard country in this particular) corraborate our initial hypothesis. Switzerland policies overall include more references to knowledge and technology transfer, in the form of licenses, R&D collaboration and spin-offs, than Portuguese policies. One exception is the case of patents (intellectual property rights, in general) with stronger weight in Portuguese policies and, to some extent, the support to spin-off creation and venture capital. The findings highlighted significant differences in variables with impact in technology transfer, namely the priorities addressed, target groups and funding eligibility, aspects of the innovation process targeted and forms of funding. From the exercise it was possible to derive some policy implications. Specifically, we advance that if a country wishes to increase technology transfer efficiency then it should implement a mandate for R&D cooperation between different actors, give priority to fund cutting edge science and research performers, and attribute a higher emphasis on applied industrial research and prototype creation aspects of the innovation process.
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