News & Events

Collaboration with Irish SME’s is thriving - Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey 2016

Over 1,200 new collaborative agreements signed

94% of collaborations with SMEs were with Irish SMEs 

Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) in conjunction with the Higher Education Authority has today published the Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey 2016 (AKTS) as part of the KTI Annual Review. The AKTS examines business engagement and commercialisation activity in the Higher Education and publicly-funded research sector. KTI is the national office that makes it simple for industry to engage with and benefit from publicly funded research in Ireland by signposting and developing resources for industry to help companies understand how, where and with whom they might work in the research system to boost their R&D and drive innovation.

The AKTS 2016 provides an in-depth commentary on the trends in knowledge transfer activity in Ireland which, overall, indicate that the research base is now delivering consistent outputs. Collaboration with Irish companies is thriving. Of the 1243 collaborative agreements signed in 2016 between industry and research organisations, such as universities, institutes of technology and other publicly-funded research organisations, 78% of the companies were based in Ireland. And of the collaboration agreements signed with the SME sector, 94% were with Irish SMEs.

The number of new products and services launched on the market by companies, as a result of a licence to intellectual property created by these Research Performing Organisations was 26 in 2016. The number of Active Spin‑out companies that are three or more years post‑formation, continued to grow to reach 119 by the end of 2016 and conservative estimates are that, together, these spin-outs employed over 1,000 people in 2016. 

AKTS 2016 highlights include:

  • 1,243 new research collaboration agreements were signed
  • 78% of research collaborations were with Irish companies
  • 94% of research collaborations with SMEs are with Irish SMEs
  • 119 companies are active three or more years post-formation

Speaking about the report’s findings Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said, “Innovation is key to maintaining competitiveness and Irish firms must prioritise innovation if they are to compete and win in a global marketplace. Earlier this year, I announced phase three of the Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative (TTSI) which will see €34.5m invested over five years to further consolidate the transfer of knowledge from within the public research system to industry in Ireland. The Government is committed to helping companies turn good ideas into innovative products and services and ultimately jobs. The results of the AKTS 2016 show that KTI and the work of Technology Transfer Offices are making it easier for Irish companies to access the knowledge and expertise available within our research performing organisations.”

Commenting on the survey Dr Alison Campbell, Director of KTI said; “Part of our role at KTI is to help drive capacity and capability for commercialisation within the research base. The results of this year’s Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey shows consistent performance in the level of engagement with industry and a steady growth in the maturation of spin-out companies. The outputs leveraged from the amount of public research funding are impressive and recognise not only the focus on innovation within the Irish research base but the impact of the investment in technology transfer through the Enterprise Ireland TTSI programme.”

Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority Dr Graham Love commented, “Knowledge Transfer and commercialisation of research are now firmly embedded within the Irish higher education sector and the AKTS 2016 results show that. The HEA is pleased to work with KTI to ensure the provision of robust system data, The AKTS is a longitudinal study that enables us to understand and analyse successful outputs over time.”


Note to Editors

What KTI Does

KTI is the national office that helps business to benefit from access to expertise, tecnology and intellectual property that’s available withing the publicly funded research base in Ireland.

Our aim is to make it simpler for companies to find, connect and engage with Irish research. We are a unique central reference point, providing signposting and resources – for companies, investors, research organisations and funders.

KTI is supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Universities Association. We are accountable to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and to the presidents of the Irish universities.