Utilisation of research
As a doctoral student or researcher at a Swedish university, you are responsible for your results being put to use. Successful utilisation presupposes strategic management of your research findings, that is to say, of your intangible assets.
Utilisation can involve disseminating the knowledge of your findings in various ways, for example through:
- Publication in scientific journals
- Distribution through education at the university
- Publication in popular science media
- Distribution through news media or public debate
Once the knowledge is disseminated, the next step in the utilisation can be that you, or another actor, ensures that the research reaches the market in the form of a product or a service. Many believe that utilisation is only achieved once it has a breakthrough in the market or in society.
Utilisation through collaboration
In order for the research to achieve an application in the market or in society, collaboration is most often required with the business community, the public sector or the NGO sector. Collaborative projects can look different but are often characterised by the various parties taking in intangible assets into the project and creating more intangible assets in the course of the project.
In order for all parties to achieve their goals in the project, it is therefore necessary to contractually agree very early in the project on what will apply for the intangible assets that belong to or come from the project. In particular, an agreement needs to be reached on the intellectual property strategy. Among other things, you need to agree on when you can publish information that concerns patentable inventions, which companies often want to keep secret until the patent application has been filed or even published.
The teacher exemption
At Swedish universities, something known as the teacher exemption is applied. This means that, by law, teachers employed at the universities themselves own the rights to their patentable inventions. The term teacher includes researchers and other employees who conduct research. It has also long been standard practice that the teacher exemption also applies to research findings other than inventions, such as copyrighted articles.
On the basis of the teacher exemption, the researcher, not the university, is the contractual party in collaboration. Researchers often do not have enough competency in this area and therefore need support in their utilisation in collaboration. Most universities have an organisation to provide such support. At more than ten universities, there are special innovation offices with experts in these issues and at nearly 20 universities, there are holding companies that have the possibility of supporting with early financing and start-up activities. At some universities, the innovation support is gathered in a collaboration function.
To strengthen Sweden's innovative capacity in general, and researchers’ ability to utilise research in particular, the Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) is conducting the project Research2Business.
The project calls attention to collaborative projects with potential to have an impact on the market or in society. Every year, Research2Business publishes its “top-100 list”, where these collaborative projects are presented. Every year, the R2B Summit is also held, a day where researchers from the list have an opportunity to present their projects and network with potential collaborative partners.
PRV is a partner in Research2Business. We contribute by highlighting the strategic management of intangible assets as a criterion in the application and selection process for the top-100 list and the R2B Summit.