Workshop: "Boosting knowledge transfer between science and industry: New models and business practices"

14 March 2018

Paris, OECD Conference Center (room CC6)



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Science-industry interactions are widely recognised as key to foster innovation and growth: they allow coordination of efforts and exploitation of synergies and complementarities among science and industry capabilities; increase the impact of publicly-funded research; and stimulate the development of science-based activities. Science-industry knowledge transfer can also play a critical role in building more sustainable and inclusive societies, if efforts are devoted to collaborative research that supports innovation to address social challenges (such as environmental sustainability and health-related challenges). 

Over the last decades, a variety of instruments have been implemented to strengthen science-industry knowledge flows. These include financial incentives for collaborative university-industry research; researchers' mobility programmes that allow researchers to temporarily join industry; or cluster and incubator policies that improve opportunities for collaborations in specific regional contexts, among others.

While boosting knowledge transfer between science and industry remains at the top of the research and innovation policy agenda of most countries, the current context of digital transformation is giving rise to new questions: How is this changing context affecting the opportunities and challenges for science and industry to interact?  Are traditional policy instruments still relevant? How to manage data flows? What are new emerging practices to promote knowledge transfer? In which ways can digital technologies help policy makers to improve design and implementation of policies? 

This joint workshop of the Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP), the Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy (TIP) and France Stratégie discussed new innovative experiments that successfully boosted knowledge transfer, and business perspectives on partnerships with science and how this supported their collaboration. The workshop gathered representatives from academia, business and policy-making bodies, as well as members from the CSTP and the TIP to discuss and exchange perspectives on knowledge transfer policies, with a focus on new business needs and policy responses.

This workshop was held back-to-back with the CSTP-TIP workshop on semantic analysis for innovation policy (12-13 March 2018), the CSTP-GSF workshop on access to public data for science, technology and innovation (13 March 2018) and the meeting of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP) (15-16 March 2018).




AGENDA (English version) (PDF)

PROGRAMME (Version française) (PDF)

Objectives of the workshop


This workshop provided insights on:  

  • New policy instruments and emerging practices implemented in the context of digital transformation to foster knowledge transfer between science and industry
  • Business perspectives on opportunities, challenges and needs for knowledge transfer 
  • Innovation policy responses to emerging opportunities and challenges for knowledge transfer

The workshop was informed by and contributes to the ongoing OECD TIP project on Assessing the Impacts of Knowledge Transfer and Policy.


9h30 - 10h00: Opening and introduction to the workshop

Chair: Patrick Vock, Chair of CSTP


  • Dirk Pilat, Deputy Director, Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, OECD
  • Gilles de Margerie, Commissionner of France Stratégie

10h00 - 11h15: Panel 1 - Advanced experiments in knowledge transfer

The session presented different experiments that have helped in making knowledge transfer work where it had not worked before. Questions addressed by the panel speakers include: 

  • What are new instruments and emerging practices implemented to foster knowledge transfer between science and industry?
  • In what ways should traditional policy instruments be adjusted in order to better respond to emerging challenges?


Chair: Bruno Rostand, Director of innovation and entrepreneurship, Université Paris Sciences et Lettres


  • Haio Harms, Executive Board member, Christian Doppler Forschungsgesellschaft (CDG), Austria
  • Maylis Chusseau, President, SATT - Aquitaine Science Transfert, France
  • Byeongwon Park, Research Fellow, Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI), Korea, and vice-chair of the TIP Working Party
  • Markus Wilkens, Head of Operations, Photonics21

11h15 - 11h45: Coffee break

11h45-13h00: Panel 2 - Business perspectives on knowledge transfer

The session involved representatives from companies that collaborate with research institutions to understand better their motivations. Questions addressed by the panel: 

  • What role do collaborations with universities play for business? How is this role likely to evolve in the future in the context of the digital transformation and other market trends? 
  • What are the key challenges in for successful university-industry collaboration and how can policy-makers help? 
  • Have businesses identified particular mechanisms or policies which work/does not work well?


Chair: Lars Frølund, Development Manager, Aarhus University and Research Affiliate, MIT Innovation Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


  • Max Riedel, Senior Consultant, University Relations, Siemens, Germany
  • Søren Bregenholt, Corporate Vice President and Head of R&D External Innovation and Strategy, Novo Nordisk, Denmark
  • Alberto Lopés-Oleaga, Director of Innovation and Processes, Ferrovial, Spain
  • Philippe Roy, Deputy Executive Officer, Cap Digital, France

13h00 - 14h30: Lunch

14h30 - 16h00: Breakout session - Recent experiences and policy lessons

Breakout groups discussed recent experiences in countries and policy lessons learnt. The starting point will be a set of recommendations made in the OECD 2002 report on "Benchmarking Industry-Science Relationships" that includes notably (p. 9-11): preserving the mission of the public research sector, ensuring appropriate frameworks for Intellectual Property, establishing bodies to transfer knowledge, targeting smaller firms, mobilising human resources, improving the evaluation of research, building of clusters and networks.

The background document for the breakout group discussions is available here

Questions the groups addressed include:

  • To what extent have these recommendations been successfully implemented in countries?
  • Are these recommendations still up to date?
  • What new policy lessons are suggested by the recent experience of countries?



16h00 - 16h30: Coffee break

16h30 - 18h00: Panel 3 - Knowledge transfer policies: lessons learnt and future perspectives

The panel took stock of the discussions of the day and reflected on what an action plan to boost knowledge transfer could look like. Questions addressed by the panel include: 

  • What have we learnt over the past two decades on what works and what does not work with regards to knowledge transfer?
  • How does the changing context (e.g. digital transformation, globalisation) impact on the effectiveness of existing policy instruments? 
  • Should policy measures be revised in view of such changes?
  • What are future perspectives for knowledge transfer policies?


Chair: Göran Marklund, Deputy Director General for External Matters, VINNOVA, Sweden, and Chair of the TIP Working Party


  • Prof. Mathias Fink, Professor at ESPCI Paris and Director of the Langevin Institute, France
  • Prof. H. Kotera, Technical advisor to MEXT; Professor, Kyoto University, Graduate School of Engineering, Japan
  • Anne Kjersti Fahlvik, Executive Director, Norwegian Research Council, Norway
  • Ryan Hampel, Science Programs and Partnerships, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada


Practical information

The OECD website provides practical information about how to get to the OECD Conference Centre where the event will be held.  

OECD Headquarters

2 Rue André Pascal, 75016 Paris

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