Knowledge and technology transfer at Charles University is centrally supported by the Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer together with subsidiary company of Charles University: Charles University Innovations Prague. Both the entities offer expertise to the academic community for the full innovation process.
Innovation ecosystem of CUNI originated in 2007 by creation of the above mentioned Centre. The current scope of activities has mainly developed since 2014 when the then new university management decided to include the third role of the university and the area of knowledge and technology transfer into its main priorities.
The Innovation ecosystem of CUNI has been enhanced by creating of a subsidiary company Charles University Innovation Prague in June 2018. CUIP is responsible for the final stages of commercialisation and is legally equipped to create new spin offs or acquire shares in existing ones, there are also recognised mechanisms how to proceed without direct involvement and base the valorisation process more on IP licensing or other forms, see CUIP web for details.
The work of The Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer is based on three main pillars:
1. Expert knowledge and technology transfer services
IP protection and strategies, legal support for contractual and applied research, NDAs, MTAs etc. It support all research fields at Charles university (i.e. medical, pharmaceutical, physical and life sciences together with the wide spectrum of social sciences and humanities. It aims at commercialisation and valorisation using analytical and research tools, business development, using the potential of “university innovation network” (internal innovation scouts and ambassadors – experienced innovators). The Centre can consult Commercialisation Board of the University with its external experts from various industry fields. The Centre often reaches out to other external partners: companies, individual experts, state administration and funding bodies, NGOs.
The Centre regularly applies for grants and subsidies both from internal and external resources. It specialises in designing and managing applied research projects and above all the Proof of Concept activities. PoC are the priority, the Centre is constantly seeking new opportunities including abroad. Recently it became involved in 4EU+ alliance linked projects and opened discussions how to enhance links to other 4EU+ partners´ technology transfer centres.
3. Awareness raising, PR and specialised KTT education
The Centre has to constantly inform internal university clients about the importance, impact and benefits of knowledge and technology transfer activities. There are several tools to support the ongoing internal PR campaign, including specialised training cycles (Management of Science and Innovation – basic, advanced, expert levels) and ad hoc onsite bespoke seminars with individual departments. Catalogue of Services presents the potential for contractual research services mainly to external partners. The Centre and all its staff actively creates links to the wider KTT community both in the Czech republic as well as abroad (Transfera.cz, ASTP, AUTM).
The Centre provides services to the academic community (both staff and students of Charles University) in areas linked to the initial stages of innovation and commercialisation and valorisation process. It focuses mostly on intellectual property, expert staff provides legal and patenting advice, specialised analyses and searches based on expert tools, including databases like BCC reports or Global Data. There is ongoing very close cooperation with the subsidiary company in the field of market analyses and business development.
The Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer mediates contacts with external partners, it can provide all necessary support for contractual research agreements, consultancy arrangements, it is very active in seeking new ways of reaching out to public bodies with the offer of the university know-how, including strong focus on valorisation of the outcomes of social science and humanities. IP protection in the form of patents is more wide-spread at our medical faculties and then on mathematics and physics, pharmacy and life-science faculties.
For more data on the volume of licences, contractual research etc. please visit the relevant annual reports, including the statistical annexes here.
The final stages of commercialisation – searching for a relevant external partner, negotiation and closing down of a deal are usually completed the team of Charles University Innovations Prague s.r.o. (CUIP). CUIP is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Charles University founded on 22 June 2018. Goal of the company is to transfer knowledge and technology created at the Charles University to the real life. Within this field, CUIP closely cooperates with its partner – the Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer of the Charles University.
CUIP provides the following services:
consulting and management services for projects with a commercial potential and for founding of spin-off companies emerging from research conducted at the Charles University
securing investors for university spin-off companies
negotiation of licensing or other agreements in a given area
financial support for spin-off companies
support of sponsorship and fundraising activities at the Charles University
Please see more on CUIP´s scope of activities in its dedicated section here as well as on www.cuip.cz.
The innovation offer of Charles University is promoted through several websites as well as using other media and events. The Centre manages the “Catalogue of Services” covering the university offer of expert services available for external partners. The advance technologies are managed and offered via CUIP and its website. Biannualy innovation fair called Via Carolina takes place.
Staff from the Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer and CUIP regularly visits conferences and specialised trade fairs to promote Charles University portfolio and widen our networks of contacts.
The Centre also constantly seeks additional financial resources to support the innovation ecosystem, ongoing professional development of its staff and of the university-wide innovation network and above all “pre-seed” money aimed at proof of concept activities.
Proof of Concept projects, especially the last few rounds of funding from Technological Agency of the Czech Republic (Programme Gama) has had a high positive impact on the development of the institutional environment at Charles University for knowledge and technology transfer activities. Proof of Concept funding has also significantly contributed to the change of mind-sets of the academic staff involved. The will to include the potential commercialisation routes as possible outcomes of their research activities has increased as well as number of cases with a real commercial success. Creating the subsidiary company Charles University Innovations Prague s.r.o. (CUIP) in 2018 has also enhanced the whole ecosystem and especially speeded up negotiation process with external commercial partners and enabled have more deals completed.
The selection of proof of concept projects is overseen by the Commercialisation Board of Charles University which is an official advisory body to the rector as per the Statue/ Constitution of Charles University (Article 12).
The Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer also manages University Innovation Network of Charles University. The capacities of the core team of the Centre are limited given the size of the Charles University academic community. Therefore, it very closely cooperates with its part-time colleagues – innovation scouts – dedicated staff at each of the faculties and other university bodies to be the first point of contact and communication channel for the researches and students in all matter related to IP protection, innovation and commercialisation, and impact of research on society. The network is supported by its sponsors at the managerial level as well ambassadors – academic innovators willing to share their practical experiences from innovation/commercialisation projects with their peers. The network meets regularly, especially the innovation scouts and the core team from the Centre. At least twice a year there is a high-level meeting with the university and faculty management.
In order to raise better awareness among academic community, the Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer regularly teaches courses within “Management of Science Innovation” training. It offers three levels accessible for both students and staff:
basic (MSI1 – blended mixture of online webinars and lectures and practical exercises aimed primarily at pre-graduate and PhD students but is accessible to all staff too)
advanced (MSI2 – live seminars with experienced lecturers from industry, dealing with practical case studies)
expert (MSI3 – individual coaching for those who need to create a real business plan for their case and might be thinking about setting up a spin off company)
Besides MSI courses, the Centre regularly organises other bespoke training events at the faculties, often aimed at IP protection and patenting, database searches and general KTT procedures at Charles University.
The Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer has also been an actives member and leader of the knowledge and technology transfer community in the Czech Republic and abroad. It contributed to the unified national KTT association Transfera.cz and currently influences its activities via having a representative in its Board. Similarly, the Centre´s Director is a Board member of the international professional association ASTP. Both the associations are respected partners to public administration, funding bodies and industry partners – which is rather advantageous position for Charles University in the knowledge and technology transfer nationally and internationally.
Technology Transfer people are essential to connecting universities with the commercial sphere: An interview with Sharon Finch
iForum: Charles University Online Magazine • Author: Jana Pilátová, Ed. Jan Velinger • Photo: Jana Pilátová
"Sharon Finch is an expert in Technology Transfer (TT) who spoke recently at Charles University on the subject of bridging researchers and universities and the commercial sphere through so-called TTOs or Technology Transfer Offices." (...) "I often hear from scientists that they have no time for TT. Is that the case? Well TT is not their main focus or their role. The same thing happens actually with pharma companies because with lots of clinicians or regulatory people, TT is not their main job either. But innovations have become so important to pharmaceutical companies that they too recognize that without external innovation that they would not be successful." The full text ZDE.
CU hosts Excellence-in-ReSTI meeting & awards: Pilot project taught ins-and-outs of project design & management
UniMedia • Author: Jan Velinger • Photo: Vladimír Šigut
"Few doubt the importance of social and technological innovation projects; in a period of ever-evolving playing fields or shifting sands, it is more important than ever that good ideas don’t fall the wayside.
Charles University got on board the Excellence-in-ReSTI (Research, Social and Technological Innovation) pilot project for that primary reason: for participants – graduates - to be able to gain a solid foundation and valuable experience in getting projects successfully funded and off the ground." The full text HERE.
Amanda Zeffmann: Changing the status quo: How uni consultancy offices are facilitating knowledge transfer
UniMedia • Author: Jan Velinger • Photo: Vladimír Šigut
"Charles University’s Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer (CPPT) and subsidiary Charles University Innovations Prague hosted the 7th National Knowledge and Technology Transfer Conference in the Czech capital last week. Dovetailing with the Via Carolina Fair - providing an overview of products and services - the conference tackled key questions in the transfer of knowledge, namely how to expand the impact of studies and research beyond university walls. As of late, a renewed focus has been placed on spreading benefits through commercialising successful research in the social sciences and the humanities."
The full text HERE
Final meeting of participants in the international educational program Excellence-in-ReSTI
On July 1, 2019, representatives of 12 scientific and research organizations from 9 European countries participating in Excellence-in-ReSTI project gathered together in Carolinum. Excellence-in-ReSTI is an international training program aimed at improving the skills of project managers in the field of social and technological innovation. Charles University provided the Moodle e-learning platform and also prepared 2 out of the 20 courses. The Prague meeting was organized by the Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer (CPPT).
A panel discussion on E-learning took place as part of the Excellence-in-ReSTI Final Meeting
A panel discussion on E-learning took place as part of the Excellence-in-ReSTI Final Meeting organised by Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer (CPP) on July 1, 2019, in Carolinum. The topic was E-learning programmes within the Danube Region: common challenges, shared lessons and potential synergies. More about the meeting can be found here: https://youtu.be/2OJWKPKXjic.