2013 saw a marked increase in the level of engagement between companies and all Irish publicly-funded research performing organisations (RPOs), including universities and the institutes of technology, according to Knowledge Transfer Ireland. The first KTI annual report published on the23 October 2014 shows a 15% increase in the number of external clients that engaged with research performing organisations in 2013, resulting in 1,598 engagement agreements, up 9% on the previous year.
The report shows that 37 new spin-out companies were created based on intellectual property and knowledge from Irish research performing organisations. Over the same period the number of IP-based transactions between RPOs and industry, including licences, options and assignments, increased by 48% to 139 last year. The report takes in a wide and deep data set, with information returned from all of Ireland's RPOs.
Welcoming the publication of KTI's first annual report, Mr Damien English, T.D., Minister for Skills, Research & Innovation, said: "I am pleased to note the increase in commercially valuable knowledge being transferred from the research system into Irish industry. Our aim is to grow the economic return from State investment in research by encouraging companies to engage with the research base in Ireland to help them innovate. KTI is playing an important part by helping to make it easier for companies to access the knowledge, expertise and IP available within our research performing organisations so that they may use research and innovation to drive competitive advantage and sustainable job creation".
KTI was launched in May 2014 and is operated in partnership between Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Universities Association. Its annual report charts its first period of development (September 2013 to May 2014) including the delivery of a unique resource for industry the KTI web portal. This web portal provides companies with easy access to the resources available to them from State-funded research – from expertise to technologies, from intellectual property to facilities and equipment.
According to KTI Director Dr. Alison Campbell, "the information available strongly supports the view that Government investment designed to strengthen Ireland's relatively young technology transfer capability is working and is continuing to meet its objectives".
Dr. Campbell said that in its first nine months KTI had put in place most of the building blocks essential to this task. "Our immediate objectives now include further development of the KTI web portal's content and functionality to ensure that companies are aware of the valuable resources and intellectual property emerging from Irish RPOs which can contribute to their growth plans."
"We have an extremely busy time ahead, but it is also an exciting one. We will continue to work closely with our Industry Advisory Board and the Knowledge Transfer Stakeholder Forum, two important bodies which help us set our direction and review our activities on an ongoing basis," Dr. Campbell said.
KTI's annual report draws on data published in its Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey (AKTS) for 2013. The AKTS is the first publication of national performance data relating to business interactions and commercialisation from publicly-funded research in Ireland. The AKTS 2013 may be downloaded from the KTI website at: www.knowledgetransferireland.com/kti-reports.