Report suggests how to improve technology transfer
A report published by the EU funded Nanoforum initiative makes recommendations on how Europe can improve the transfer of technology from its research results, including in the field of nanotechnology. The report was drawn up following a 'Nano2Business' workshop held at the Warsaw University of Technology, which aimed to find ways to solve the European paradox, whereby Europe has the necessary knowledge and research, but then fails to take this knowledge to market. In its first recommendation for technology transfer, the report states that Europe has the unique opportunity of learning from the best by establishing collaborations between the leading technology transfer incubators and networks throughout the continent and even the rest of the world. The report then highlights the importance of education, and especially university education, which could teach business skills to scientists. It also calls for the people involved in the commercialisation of nanoscience and technology to benefit from special education following their scientific degree so as to develop management skills and understand marketing and financial issues. 'The management team must be able to act as an effective technology translator. Technology translation is a relatively new career option for engineers and scientists of all disciplines. The role of a technology translator is to translate industrial problems and requirements into basic scientific concepts and to source academic expertise from the science and engineering base,' reads the report. 'The translator then facilitates collaborative research between industry and academia, and, finally, converts the scientific results into commercially exploitable information,' it continues. Finally, the report recommends improving the organisation of science by supporting new spin-offs or other forms of technology transfer. It also calls for improving the way research projects are generated and evaluated, so as to ensure that there is sufficient, in-depth, research by large research groups. Nanoforum is a pan-European nanotechnology network funded by the European Union under the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) to provide information on European nanotechnology efforts and support the European nanotechnology community.