OECD’s examination of Space Technology Transfers and their Commercialisation [Nov/2021]
In its study on “Space technology
transfers and their commercialisation”, the OECD investigates the transfers
from publicly funded space programmes to different sectors of the economy in
Europe, Asia and North America and highlights that the processes through which
these transfers occur are often still not well understood.
The following three channels for
technology transfers to successfully commercialise are identified by the paper:
- Collaborative research between government-led programmes with academia and private firms (often including firm co-investment)
- Licensing or patents based on government intellectual property given to commercial partners
- Informal channels including labour mobility, facility sharing, conferences, scientific publications, etc.
To further develop these
channels, space agencies are using different regulatory, financial, and policy
mechanisms, such as: licensing strategies, R&D programmes, start-up spaces,
infrastructure projects, or networking platforms. All this has led to over 2000
trackable commercial products based on NASA technology transfers. Similarly, in
Europe, 60% of the surveyed companies confirmed that participating in ESA programmes
resulted in product innovation for new markets and over 50% of them saw a
diversification of their target markets and clients.
Yet, the OECD characterizes
multiple barriers to effectively measure the socio-economic impacts of these technology
transfers, including long time lags between investment and outcomes,
unreliable/ inflated data, limited institutional memory, and issues with the attribution
of measured outcomes. In order to overcome such issues in the future, the OECD
recommends improving data gathering at space agency level, alongside comparability
of data, and technology transfer long-term outcome tracking. Lastly, a deeper
understanding of the technology transfer process and its impact is advised.
To learn more about this topic
and access more detailed information, please click here.
Barjak, Franz & Bill, Marc & Samuel, Olga. (2015). Evaluation of the
existing Swiss institutional R&D funding instruments for the implementation
of the space-related measures.