Edited by Robert E. Litan
Chapter 10: National Technology Transfer Mechanisms
Dov Greenbaum1 10.1 INTRODUCTION There are a number of components that are integral to a successful national technology transfer program to support entrepreneurship among research scientists and eventual national economic growth. These include (i) laws and regulations such as robust intellectual property laws and international investment laws (note however that there is no onesize-fits-all solution for all countries), and (ii) government policies that support and promote innovation and technology transfer – and that hopefully acknowledge the long-term commitment necessary. While pro-innovation policies are often advocated, they are not as often implemented or only supported ineffectually. When imposed though, government policies can act as sticks or carrots, penalizing, for instance, academics who do not disclose their inventions or rewarding those who do. As in the case of laws and regulations, each country ought to find a unique optimization point that includes a successful balance of both. Further, governments and educational institutions will find that in some instances a top down government spearheaded approach will work best, and in other instances, a grass roots bottom up system will be more successful. (iii) Individual research institutions need to have clear and consistent policies for dissemination of innovation, ownership of invention and division of royalties, among others. These institutions should also support patenting and other entrepreneurial behavior including consulting, formation of spin-off firms and engagement in contractual externally funded research. And finally (iv) there needs to be a supportive culture of entrepreneurialism or patenting within academia itself;2 government and university prodding will be ineffectual...
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