Given the challenges of the present, the need for innovative approaches to solutions in production, organization, and services is greater than ever. The successful transfer of knowledge and technologies between the stakeholders involved is the key to successful innovation processes. Innovations shape the future!

The Transfer Forum 2020 brings together individuals in key positions in the German innovation and research landscape to discuss options for shaping transfer processes, and to initiate successful transfer strategies. The forum is an opportunity for personal exchange, as well as exclusive insights into unpublished research findings.

The theme of Transfer Forum 2020, which took place on 14 September 2020, was shaping the Future of Transfer. Participants explored two research topics from the Transferwissenschaft project. In the first part, foresight-based future scenarios provided a speculative look at the possible futures of transfer. In the second part, participants and members of the research team discussed the core principles for the strategic design of a desirable future of transfer.


Three speculative scenarios for the future
of knowledge and technology transfer

Current technological and social developments are shaping the future of research and innovation. It is therefore crucial to take a look at the social, economic and technological trends that could help define Germany as a hub for innovation in the future.

Which future is conceivable, which is desirable, which is feasible – and how do we achieve it?

These questions help to identify and discuss options for the further development of knowledge and technology transfer. In order to make possible futures as accessible as possible, the team engaged foresight methods to develop speculative future scenarios. The scenarios are based on trends identified in research literature on the future of transfer. The research team added exploratory, speculative, and transformative elements, and expanded the scenarios in collaboration with experts and practitioners.

The resulting scenarios serve as a basis for discussion on the function, challenges, and development paths of knowledge and technology transfer. Each scenario outlines a possible future, and its design distinguishes it in many ways from alternative possible scenarios. The scenarios act as a kind of lens that provides a view of current developments and makes it possible to compare the desirability of different futures, and to align policy measures accordingly.

You can download a detailed description of the scenarios here:


Theses for a new transfer model

Extending the impact of knowledge beyond the research context is a priority in national and international research strategies and policy frameworks. As an innovation hub, Germany sees research as a joint task that receives considerable public funding so that research result can benefit society. When shaping future transfer strategies, it is important to live up to this responsibility in the context of current social challenges.

How do we responsibly design knowledge and technology transfer for the future? Current social challenges require a new shared understanding of transfer. Our team makes a research-based contribution to this discourse:

Based on an extensive systematic literature review, our team first identified existing models of knowledge and technology transfer, and analyzed them in the context of current academic and political discourse around the needs for transfer in the future. Our goal is to combine perspectives from transfer research and practice in a new transfer model. With this transfer model, we are creating a new resource for the development of research and innovation policy as well as individual organizational strategies for transfer.

The core theses and the emerging transfer model are currently in the development phase. Feedback from experts and practitioners, including the results of discussions at Transfer Forum 2020, will be integrated into the development process. Would you like to contribute your perspective as to which principles should shape a sustainable understanding of knowledge and technology transfer? Then get in touch with the research team!