The Working Group on Technology Transfer Holds a Successful Symposium in Munich


State Minister Heubisch welcomed.
(Photo: BioM)

On 17 June 2013, around 100 people attended a symposium at the European Patent Office in Munich to discuss the barriers to successful technology transfer between academia, the biotechnology sector and the pharmaceutical sector.

BIO Deutschland’s Working Group on Technology Transfer and BIOM from Munich co-organised the event, which featured a wide-ranging programme.

Following short welcoming speeches by Richard Flammer, principal director patent information at the European Patent Office, and Wolfgang Heubisch, Bavarian State Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts, the technology-transfer part of the programme was opened by Alexander Gerybadze, who gave a very well-received talk on innovation strategies and technology transfer in Germany in his capacity as a member of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation.

Horst Domdey, a member of the board of BIO Deutschland and chairperson of the association’s Working Group on BIO Technology, opened the afternoon programme and gave a presentation on the role of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and project funders in technology transfer at short notice on behalf of Hans-Michael Biehl from Project Management Jülich, who was unable to attend the event. In the short presentations following this speech, representatives of academia, biotechnology and pharmaceutics gave each other feedback on each partner’s strengths and weaknesses as regards collaborative projects and technology transfer. The hypotheses and criticism from these presentations formed the basis of the afternoon workshops and generated heated discussion. The workshops were on the topics of “Academia Meets Pharma”, “Biotech Meets Academia” and “Pharma Meets Biotech”. Participants warmly welcomed the opportunity to attend all three workshops, as each was held three times in a row.

The findings from the discussions were then compiled by the chairperson of each workshop and discussed in a plenary session.

The large hall at the European Patent Office was full.
(Photo: BioM)

The important points identified as problems in technology transfer between the various sectors included: communication problems arising from different self-conceptions (culture clash); a lack of trust between cooperation partners; a lack of transparency; insufficient training among scientists and technology transfer organisation; a lack of standardisation; and difficult negotiating positions.

This discussion also generated preliminary concrete suggestions for improvement, such as support for communication between the various parties and strengthening of the central applications structures. The working group will draw up recommendations for technology transfer on the basis of the findings of the three workshops.

The successful symposium was rounded off by a discussion between Horst Domdey and Axel Ullrich, director of the molecular biology department at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, who spoke about important decisions during his career.

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