KTI annual report shows one-third increase in number of patents and software licences

Paul O’Toole, Higher Education Authority and Alison Campbell, Knowledge Transfer Ireland
Paul O’Toole, Higher Education Authority and Alison Campbell, Knowledge Transfer Ireland

ICT sector provides more than one third of active spin-outs

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25 July 2019 | 0

Knowledge Transfer Ireland today launched its fifth Knowledge Transfer Survey (AKTS) in conjunction with the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

KTI bases its surveys on analyses data from universities, Institutes of Technology (IoTs) and other state-funded research organisations to assess the levels of activities such as the licensing of intellectual property, research collaborations, consultancy and spin-out creation.

There was a 33% increase in licences, option agreements and assignment agreements in 2018, the highest number since the survey began. The majority of licences were signed with Irish companies (76%) of which 61% were with Irish SMEs. Most of the licences were for patents and software.

On average there are 30 new companies spinning out from Irish research each year. There were 119 ‘active spin-outs’ of at least three years post-formation operating at the end of 2018, primarily in the ICT (35%) and health & medtech (27%) sectors.

“This year’s results show that we have developed a strong platform for knowledge transfer in Ireland, that is continuing to mature and evolve,” said Dr Alison Campbell, director, KTI.

“The level of international interest in the Irish system and in KTI has been encouraging. The survey findings confirm the value that enterprise places on accessing Irish research and expertise to drive innovation and the upwards trend in repeat engagements reflects the quality of that experience.

“We also see a continuing move in 2018 from a transactional model between research and industry that requires negotiations for each new project, towards a relationship model, leading to the accelerated translation of research into products.

“As evidence of this, there were 365 repeat collaborations in 2018, an increase of 19% year-on-year. Our focus will be to build on this momentum of qualitative progress as well as increased volumes.”

Paul O’Toole, CEO, Higher Education Authority (HEA), said: “We work to build Ireland’s research capacity and to enhance the responsiveness of higher education institutions to the needs of society.

“This survey is an important contribution to ensuring transparency in the reporting of higher education institutions participation in knowledge transfer. Our aim is to enable institutions to work on a commercial basis with enterprise while preserving the public interest appropriately.”

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