Technology Transfer

Technology Transfer and the Helmholtz Association's mission

The Helmholtz Association's mission is to contribute to solving the grand challenges which face society, science and industry by performing top-rate research in strategic programmes. This mission ensures that the Association's scientific discoveries are relevant and applicable to society through technology transfer; that is, transferring discoveries in the laboratory into the medicines, products, and services which shape our future.

The Helmholtz Association encourages technology transfer not only as a matter of principle but also through a set of policy and funding instruments that cover the whole innovation cycle from basic research, through applied research and into application for daily use (for instance, new medical treatments, energy efficiency, computer capacity and new forms of transport).

Application Readiness Level – from research to application

There are many intermediate steps between conducting basic research to application development and market exploitation. These processes can be complex but can, nevertheless, be understood in a simplified linear model, the “Application Readiness Level” (see figure below).

Technology transfer makes it possible, through various transfer channels and transfer instruments, to close gaps between research outcomes and practical applications.

Transfer channels and transfer instruments within the Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association’s research centres use a range of ‘transfer channels’ to successfully transfer scientific and technological discovery into practical societal use. These include:

  • A range of events and networking activities
  • Collaboration (for example, strategic partnerships, publicly- and privately-commissioned research)
  • Research validation projects
  • Licensing
  • Use of research infrastructures
  • Creation of spin-off companies
  • Norms and standardisation.

The Helmholtz Association supports transfer activities at its membership research centres through customised transfer instruments.

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