Good morning.My name is Kanetaka Maki.First of all, I would like to express my appreciation to NIESTEP for inviting me to the session as speaker.Today, I am going to talk about pros and cons of technology transfer office, with evidence from Japan.I am aware that my talk is quite controversial, and I look forward for the discussion.
I am currentlyPh.D student at University of California, San Diego.My research topic is innovation and entrepreneurship, especially focusing on university-industry technology transfer.Prior to coming to the US, I was working as faculty at Keio University.I was a founding chief officer of university incubation program. There, I designed and implement numerous key programs to promote university-based startups. My experience includes supporting startups, supporting other Japanese university to launch the incubation program, and designing policy in Japan.My advantage in this field is thatI have both experience in academia and practice.
Let me talk you the story.End of 1990s: Japan was considered to be trailing the US in university-technology transfer.Japanese government introduced to new national innovation system in late 1990s, using the US system as a model.The center pillar of the transformation was the launch of Technology Transfer Office (TTO).My question is that, after the transformation, is the new national innovation system in Japan working effectively?
Let me explain the role of TTO, for those of you don’t know.The TTO aims to promote collaboration between university and industry, potentially playing several roles: investigating potential research that can be commercializedapplying for patents on newly created innovationslicensing patents to industryearning profits for the universityand share profits to individual researchers.
Previous research suggests that multiple pathways for university transfer exist. Multiple pathways increase the volume of the entire technology transfer, and ultimately increase the impact of innovation. A research illustrates that most faculty members estimate that patents account for less that 10% of whole university-industry technology transfer.The key channels of technology transfer are related to “open science”, such as publication, consulting, or education.Addition to trivial pathways, Zucker and Darby proposes that knowledge spillovers occur when joint research such as co-authoring the articles is conducted. (Zucker et al., 2000)Additionally, previous research illustrates critiques of TTO.For example, Litan claims that TTOs behave as revenue maximizers and do not have an incentive to increase the volume.Also Siegel demonstrates that there is a strong belief on the part of industry (80%) that universities are exercising their intellectual property rights too aggressively. The attitude of TTO has led some firms to completely avoid working with TTOs.In this talk, we will look deeply for licensing and co-authoring.
Prior to reform, university-industry technology transfer had four unique characteristics.Strong belief that academia must be independent from industry existed.National university professors were not allowed to receive compensation from industry, or be involved in side business.National universities were not allowed to own patents.University facilities were open to public under supervision of professors.This is how technologytransfer works.University researcher and firm researcher agree to start joint research.Joint research starts immediately without formal contract. Usually, firm researchers physically go to university to conduct research.Co-authored publication is generated through university.If research is patentable, firm applies the patent.As the “compensation”, firm donates to university.
In the late 90s, government decided to transform the national innovation system.Government implemented bunch of innovation policy packages.Three are three most important policy changes.First is TTO act in 1998. Second is Japanese version of Bayh-Dole Act.Third is “Hiranuma plan” that encourages university startups.
The TTO Act created guidelines and processes for universities to set up TTO.According to the new law, launching a TTO involved the following steps: University decides to create a TTOUniversity proposes a plan to the Ministry of Economy, Trading, and Industry (METI) for approvalMETI grants permission based on the validity of the planBased on approval, the university launches the office. There is an interesting debate that was the creation of TTO was Incentivized or mandatory?METI incentivized universities with subsidies to launch the TTO.However,METI explicitly guided particular universities to launch the TTO.Many universities believed that creating the TTO was a new source of income, which was necessary for economic sustainability.
In fact, 65 out of 100 top universities launched TTO within 6 years.It was the external pressure that made universities to adapt the transformation.
Three major changes in present technology transfer in Japan.Government and universities promote UIC (change in belief). The change in belief strongly affect the behavior of researchers in Japan.UIC now requires formal organizational procedure with contract. TTO manages intellectual property.This is how technology transfer works.First, university researcher and firm researcher agree to start joint research.Now, formal contract is necessary. Office of research and legal office negotiates for the contract.When joint research starts, firm pays the research budget.Co-authored publication generated jointly.In case of applying the patent, now university is responsible.If firm has a need to use the patent, university will license the patent with firms paying the royalty.This is identical as the US innovation system.
Based on anecdotal evidence and a theoretical model, we formulated two hypotheses.Hypothesis 1: The reform to new University-Industry Collaboration model is expected be associated with an increase in joint research between universities and firms, because the incentives for researchers to collaborate increased.Hypothesis 2: TTO activity could be negatively associated with the quantity of joint research between university and firm researchers, because the transaction costs increased.Now we test these hypothesis using dataset in Japan.
As I proposed, Japanese universities were “forced” to reform to the new system, case study in Japan is a great opportunity as natural experiment.We use co-authoring of academic articles between universities and firms as the indicator of joint research. This is an appropriate indicator because of following reason.Novel science discoveries are by nature tacit knowledge, and therefore not patentable.New discoveries have characteristics of natural-excludability. They are transferable only through bench-science level collaboration. Co-authoring per se is the process of transferring tacit knowledge.
We are using dataset named Nanobank which includes academic publication in nanotechnology.Unique about this data set is that unique identifier for the organization is available.We also gathered characteristics of TTO and trend of nanotechnology research.Aggregating these three datasets, we conducted balanced panel dataset.Time span is 1994-2004 including 1998, the year of TTO act.We included top 100 university with research volume.
To show you the trend of nanotechnology research, figure describes the volume of nanotechnology research.As you can see, nanotechnology research was boom, and expanded dramatically.
- Our empirical model is as illustrated.To put it simply, what we are looking is the effect of Reform to New UIC and activeness of TTO on frequency of co-authoring articles.Reform to NewTT was measured by launch of TTO. Launching TTO is the robust indicator to see the adaption of reform.Activeness of TTO is measured by patents applied.We controlled the trend of nanotechnology and characteristics of university.
The result is shown. Coefficient of NewTT is 0.202, and cofficient of TTO is -0.0578.Put it simply, figure in the left side illustrates the effect of reform. Universities with adapting reform increased frequency of joint research for 20%.The figure in right side demonstrates the effect of activeness of TTO. As illustrated, applying one patent decreases frequency of co-authoring for 5%.In other words, more patents, less co-authoring articles.
This is a case study for the University of Tokyo.The figure illustrates impact of total effect on frequency of co-authoring.As you can see, after the launch of TTO, co-authoring seems decreasing.
The data seems to confirm thatthe reform to new UIC is associated with an increase of joint research between universities and firms (hypothesis 1 confirmed)the activeness of TTO is negatively associated with the quantity of joint research between universities and firms (hypothesis 2 confirmed)Since we must see the total effect, the amount of joint research in universities with active TTOs is actually decreasing.
Does this mean that TTO is an obstacle for UIC?No. What we found in this analysis is that patent activities and co-authoring are the tradeoffs.Multiple pathway of technology transfer is necessary. TTO is definitely the one, but must be appropriately managed.Does this apply to other research fields besides nanotechnology?Probably yes. We controlled the trend of nanotechnology. Further investigation is necessary for validation.
Policy implication.Transformation of national innovation system was the process of moving from informal ties to formal ties.Existence of informal ties is still necessary after the transformation.allowing joint research without formal contractTTO is the dual agent of university administration and researchers. Some TTO seems acting as the agent of university administration rather than agent of researchers.alignment of objectives between TTOs and researchers
The Impact of Technology Transfer Office on Knowledge Transfer (AAAS2014)