Promotion of transnational cooperation between science and industry through the establishment of TRANS³Net network of transfer-supporting organisations

Grit Krause-Juettler
TU Dresden, CIMTT

The border area between Germany, Czech Republic and Poland is characterised by a low level of transnational cooperation between university resp. research organisations and companies. The reasons are to find in structurally, socially as well as historically determined factors. National differences induce a mismatch and therefore an opacity of administrative structures and relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, whole border area is distinguished by micro-enterprises that possess only a low level of innovation capacity in terms of human and financial resources for innovation projects and project management for implementation of transnational research and transfer collaboration. Social causes for marginal occurrence of linkages are to find in a rather poor level of trust between key actors of innovation and missing openness for transnational cooperation in companies.
Coming from this status quo, in July 2016 TRANS³Net project (funded by INTERREG Central Europe programme) started with the objective to shape the conditions for a transnational innovation system in the described border region. Actors from science, industry and political sphere joined forces to establish a transnational network of key actors in the field of knowledge and technology transfer.
During the last three years, TRANS³Net team developed different methods and tools for bringing transfer promoting institutions (transfer promotors) but also science and industry closer together.
As basis for the establishment of the network of transfer supporting institutions, TRANS³Net first of all developed an identification tool for detecting and describing ‘transfer promotors’ with their different services they can provide during transnational collaboration processes of science and industry. Until today, TRANS³Net identified 83 transfer promotors published their profiles in the map of transfer promotors. Furthermore, based on a SWOT-analysis of the region, TRANS³Net elaborated a strategy, an action plan and finally a cooperation network model as a kind of business model as basis for the continuation of the network of transfer promotors after phasing out of funding in 2019. Nowadays, the TRANS³Net network is working based on these instruments. Essential contents of these documents and instruments will be presented at the conference.
Additionally, during last three years, TRANS³Net tested different instruments for bringing science and industry closer together, e.g. events like TRANS³, TRANS³Net.visit focusing on researchers and entrepreneurs, format TRANS³Net.dialogue focusing on policymakers for shaping political conditions for transnational transfer collaboration, TRANS³Net training for qualification of ‘transfer promotors’ to accompany transnational transfer projects and TRANS³net innovation portal currently providing 75 technology profiles from three universities describing research results available for economic exploitation. Through these different kinds of events and tools TRANS³Net in sum reached 815 organisations and 646 participants, trained 103 persons and initiated transnational projects with a total budget of 3,6 million Euro (status November 2019). Concrete details of the instruments and tools are presented at the conference.
After expiry of funding, TRANS³Net network started work in October 2019. In the beginning, eight institutions from the three countries committed to the network´s objectives and activities. In 2020, first TRANS³ will be realised without public funding.
In the last three years, TRANS³Net could establish trustful and reliable relationships between the key actors of innovation and knowledge transfer in the tri-lateral region. These relationships are the indispensable prerequisite for the future collaboration. Furthermore, TRANS³Net is established as a ‘trademark’ for transnational transfer, which serves as a door opener for further cooperation. Therefore, TRANS³Net could prove that the building of a positive cooperation climate and trust is a vital condition for collaboration between science and industry because cooperation is carried out by human beings. Additionally, all elaborated results of TRANS³Net are documented in detail and are available for all border regions to use them for their purposes.