There was a 46% increase in the number of companies in Ireland engaging with State-funded research performing organisations (RPOs) to access research to grow their business in 2014 according to figures published in the Knowledge Transfer Ireland Annual Report and Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey 2014.
Launching the KTI annual report and knowledge transfer survey Richard Bruton T.D., Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, said; “I am very pleased to see a marked uptake in the number of companies engaging with the research base in Ireland. A key part of our jobs plan is supporting more companies to engage in research and innovation activities – ultimately turning good ideas into good jobs. KTI is playing an important part in this process by making it easier for companies to access the knowledge and expertise available within our research performing organisations so they can use it to drive competitive advantage and sustainable job creation”.
The increased levels of engagement led to 2,337 agreements between companies and State-funded RPOs.
The report also shows that 27 new spin-out companies were created based on intellectual property and knowledge from Irish RPOs. Over the same period the number of IP-based transactions between RPOs and industry, including licences, options and assignments, increased by 21% to 168. Amongst these were a licence from UCC to Alimentary Health which led to the creation of a new precision biotic product called Alflorex and a new cheese product was developed at Teagasc Moorepark in collaboration with Tipperary Co-Op and Ornua under the Kerrygold brand.
According to KTI Director Dr. Alison Campbell, “the increasing levels of engagement between industry and research organisations is most encouraging and reflects the efforts of the entire technology transfer system in Ireland which we must remember is still quite young. Since the State began investing in a technology transfer infrastructure in 2007 there has been a relentless focus on ensuring that companies are aware of the valuable resources and intellectual property emerging from Irish RPOs which can contribute to their growth plans. These results prove that the effort is paying off.”
Tom Boland CEO of the Higher Education Authority welcomed the KTI annual report and annual knowledge transfer survey results saying “Performance across the State-funded research base is encouraging. The HEA is pleased to be working with KTI to provide a single system-wide data collection for the annual knowledge transfer survey. Together, we look forward to building a longitudinal study of system performance over time.”
KTI was launched in May 2014 and is operated in partnership between Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Universities Association. Amongst its activities is the operation 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.
KTI’s annual report incorporates results from its Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey (AKTS) which tracks business engagement and commercialisation activity between business and Ireland’s State-funded RPOs for 2014.