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What is knowledge transfer

While traditional technology transfer used to be the focus, there is currently talk of “knowledge exchange”. The exchange of knowledge in all directions is therefore increasingly in the foreground. The approaches to knowledge transfer listed below come very close to a definition.

Approach 1:

»Knowledge transfer is generally understood to mean the exchange of knowledge between research institutions and companies in order to achieve a socio-economic impact through efficient use of the (public) research location. The term ›knowledge exchange‹ is often used to take account of the fact that knowledge neither flows one-dimensionally ›from science to industry‹, nor exclusively between actors of this size. The development of the concept reflects the subsequent change in the perception of the relationships between science and business, away from a linear or one-dimensional flow towards a complex, structured process that involves many different actors - academic institutions, companies, government agencies, Municipalities and communities. In short, knowledge transfer is about using public research as a strategic resource in the application of basic research and in transferring it to marketable products and services. "

Source: Boosting Open Innovation and Knowledge Transfer in the European Union, 2014, English, 76 pp.

Approach 2:

»Knowledge transfer includes the process of capturing, collecting and sharing explicit or implicit knowledge, including skills and competencies. It includes commercial and non-commercial activities such as research collaboration, consulting, licensing, creation of spin-offs, researcher mobility, publications and many more. The focus is on scientific and technological knowledge; but other forms, such as technology-based business processes, are also taken into account. "

Source: Improving Knowledge Transfer between Research Institutions and Industry across Europe, 2007, English, 34 pp.

Approach 3:

»Knowledge transfer comprises all activities for the transfer of knowledge between the knowledge sender and the knowledge receiver. It takes place either directly or through intermediaries. Knowledge transfer is not a linear process, but a mutual exchange between the transfer partners. "

Source: Interorganizational knowledge transfer, cooperation between research institutions and SMEs, Springer Gabler, ISBN 978-3-658-00927-4, 2013, German

But what does that mean in practice? Here you can find more information:

Types of knowledge transfer