Technology Transfer Support Programme in the Western Balkans 

Technology transfer

The Regional Cooperation Council's implemented the Technology Transfer Support Programme in 2021.

The Programme provided capacity building to the region’s Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs). Also, it facilitated regional networking and set the stage for the follow-up actions to be implemented in 2022.

The Programme showed that the region's universities do not have enough ‘technology’ to transfer. As a result, it is difficult to justify setting up and maintaining the specialised support for a few high value projects.

The key conclusion is that TTOs should expand teams and employ specialists to propel the realisation of high-value R&D projects.

Specifically, the Support Programme allowed capacity building of TTOs through initial problem solving and strategic decision making. It assisted each participating TTO to identify the suitable technology transfer (TT) model for their institution, considering their available resources and institutional needs.

In addition, the Programme encouraged TTOs to plan and implement small projects in 2022. Particularly valuable dimension of the Programme was exposure to external TTOs that enabled knowledge transfer.

Finally, the project offered a set of recommendations for RCC’s actions in the future.

Technology Transfer Support Programme approach

The Programme's consultants used lean business model canvas that allows a business plan to be presented on a simple 1-page template. The canvas deconstructs an idea into key assumptions that are easy to follow and understand.

The consultants identified key problems for TTOs to focus on and corresponding solutions that could cater to certain customer segments.

Note that most research organisations, including TTOs, tend to stick to generalist approach of aiming everywhere and hitting nothing. Therefore, one of the key goals of the Support Programme was to assist the selected TTOs pick the most valuable business niches for their future operations.

The way forward

The team of experts suggested potential tech transfer actions worth considered in 2022. The key takeaway is that ‘learning by doing and sharing’ could be the most useful approach.

For example, some TTOs could benefit from support actions aimed at IP Policy development. Some other TTOs require assistance in protection and valorisation of projects.

Some research organisations who have established Open Access Policies would benefit from established contract research actions and other forms of technology transfer.

All TTOs in the region would benefit strongly from regional networking. Enabling a platform to communicate more directly with each other in the region and beyond may be the first next step.

Many TTOs would find support to establish spinoffs and prototyping very useful.