As an applied research organization, Fraunhofer’s mission not only consists of research and development per se but also involves transferring this research into the real world. The transformation of research findings into commercial applications, and more specifically the creation of high-tech spin-off companies to produce and market new products and services, are important elements in this process.
We provide support throughout the entire process, from the conception of the original idea to its implementation in the real world. In today’s rapidly changing society, it is important to align the use of new technologies, products and services with the needs of society. In this context, we investigate the way in which diversity generates new perspectives for deriving profit from research – especially by considering the gender dimension. The aim is to promote the co-evolution of societal and technological developments, so that both aspects contribute to social progress. Relevant stakeholders and networks are integrated into the research process at an early stage, allowing the identification and establishment of feedback loops. When developing business and funding models, we rely on the experience of external project partners with entrepreneurial experience.
Our research work focuses mainly on the following questions:
- What is the best way for research organizations and industrial R&D departments to create an entrepreneurial culture?
- How can we improve the support offered to researchers wishing to set up their own companies?
- What new cooperation models and synergies might result from this?
- What are the hallmarks of radical innovations?
- What is the significance of the gender dimension in campaigns to commercialize new products?
- How can we help SMEs to become more innovative?
- What are the best ways of communicating scientific knowledge and research products to the public?
Our studies of and active involvement in spin-off ventures provide a first set of relevant findings and practical experience that present further questions for technology transfer research. The knowledge acquired by our team is fed back to the other teams. In this way, technology transfer is taken into consideration from the earliest stages of research and innovation projects – and technology transfer research can be applied in a real-life context.