University Knowledge Transfer

University Knowledge Transfer

SMEs play a very important role in the EU economy. Boosting direct knowledge transfer from universities to SMEs can improve an SME’s business excellence and substantially contribute to EU competitiveness. SMEs have particular requirements from any intervention. The methods used need to be resource- and time-efficient and SMEs usually need to see a direct financial return on any investment. If these criteria are met, this classical open innovation approach can be successfully applied.


Understand the relevant factors influencing the direct knowledge transfer process (e.g. simplicity of methods, time efficiency of process, trust in facilitator) and find ways to refine them.

  • Conduct knowledge transfer initiatives with SMEs in different contexts such as sectors or regions using different transfer process types (one-one, open courses, online methods etc.)  
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the transfer process and identify barriers to transfer
  • Monitor the impact of transfer to SMEs performance (e.g. revenues, employment)
  • If necessary, refine and optimize the transfer process



What needs are being addressed? What is the job to be done? 

  • Current Business Performance Assessment & Prioritisation methods used to assess and analyse SMEs’ priorities and performance across their business and understand where to focus on to achieve business excellence.
  • Business Strategy Development used to analyse SMEs’ environments, opportunities and their capabilities to build a winning strategy.
  • Roadmapping used to rank and select the most potentially important (business) ideas and define a pragmatic implementation to ensure they thrive.
Transfer Process: 

How will knowledge be transferred?

  • One-to-one knowledge transfer: workshop moderated by a facilitator
  • Open course: workshop with peers of different organisations moderated by a facilitator
  • Online: cross-company self-assessment online without a facilitator
  • Co-coaching: workshop moderated by two facilitators:
    • a knowledge specialist
    • local coach to cover company-specific  knowledge and needs as well as cultural and economic context 

Guidelines especially for university teams, professional coaches, policy makers and SMEs on:

  • how to engage successfully with SMEs
  • how to transfer efficiently (non-) technical knowledge to SMEs
  • what type of knowledge transfer process yields the highest impact in different contexts

SMEs benefits

  • Company insights and actions yielding immediate success
  • Access to best practices
  • Refine business capabilities

Case studies from different contexts (sectors, regions) to show overall robustness of the process 

  • UK
  • AUT