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General information on Germany can be found in wikipedia.org web site by clicking here.

General Principles of Technology Transfer at German UniversitiesEdit

Germany counts about 250 universities of which about 100 universities for applied sciences (Fachhochschulen). Each university principally owns a Technology Transfer Office which supports technology transfer between university and industry. Moreover the German research system is based around non-university research institutions which are arranged in four main organisations: Max Planck Gesellschaft, Helmholtz Gemeinschaft, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and Leibnitz Gesellschaft.

The Federal German Government launched a knowledge transfer initiative “Knowledge creates Markets” in 2001. One of the actions of this initiative was the reform of a section of German employer-employee law (Arbeitnehmererfindungsgesetz) in 2002 dealing with inventions by teaching faculty at universities (the so-called professor’s privilege). With this reform the universities got ownership of the IP generated by their academics. After February 2002, professors at German universities are required to report any inventions to the university. A federal programme starting 2002 was set to promote the commercialisation of university research through the creation of Patent Marketing Agencies (PMAs). See under 4.2.

Concerning cooperation projects with industry the IP ownership depends on the agreement decided by the university and the industry at the beginning of the project.

Public Research FundingEdit

The Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is not only a financial backer but also a partner in the German education and research system. Alone or together with the Länder, it provides funds for many different establishments and projects.


1. Joint funding by the Federal Government and the Länder


More than a quarter of all state funding is in the form of institution-based support to institutions funded jointly by the Federal Government and the Länder. The Federal Government is responsible for providing two thirds of these funds.


1.1 Public Research Institutions:


• Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. (Max Planck Society),

• Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for the Advancement of Applied Research (Fraunhofer Society),

• Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren (Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres)and

• Blaue Liste-Einrichtungen (Blue List Establishments) in the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Science Association

See more details on each PROs under Chapter 3.


1.2 Funding agencies for research projects


• Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft e.V. - DFG (German Research Foundation). The DFG plays an important role in support of knowledge-oriented research. The DFG awards its funding on a competitive basis, to winning project proposals – especially from universities and research institutes.

• Akademienprogramm der sieben deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften (Projects of the seven German Academies of Sciences).


2. Sole funding by the Federal Government


The Federal Government provides sole funding through annual grants or endowment capital to the following


2.1 Public Research Institutions:


• Stiftung caesar (Center of Advanced European Studies and Research) and

• federal institutions with research tasks connected with their autonomous activities within the framework of the work of the respective Federal Ministry to whose sphere of action they belong


2.2 Funding agencies for research projects


• Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) (German Environment Foundation),

• Die Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen "Otto von Guericke " e.V. (AiF) (German Federation of Industrial Cooperative Research Associations "Otto von Guericke")

• Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung (DSF) (German Foundation for Peace Research);

Moreover the Federal Government is founding institutions for promoting young scientists by means of scholarships and other forms of individual funding.


3. Project funding by the Federal Government


Moreover the BMBF and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWI) set several competition-based programmes which support technology transfer. These programmes are controlled by competition-selected “Projektträger” (e.g. Projektträger Jülich, DLR, AIF...). In recent years, support of regional centres of excellence and national competence networks has become a central instrument of support. In nearly all important technological areas, excellent centres and networks where innovative companies, research institutes and universities are represented are being supported. The selection is done through a competitive process. The www.kompetenznetze.de internet portal gives an overview on most of the German competence networks.

Public Research Organisations (PROs)Edit

Basic research must be given a free rein to develop in accordance with its own needs. This is why the Federal Government and the Länder, in supporting organisations active in basic research, provide most of their funding on an institutional basis. In each case, the percentage of a research organisation’s total budget that is provided as basic institutional financing depends on the organisation’s profile.

1. Universities Universities are the basis of Germany’s research system.


2. Non-university institutions (Public Research Institutions)

Along with its higher education institutions, Germany has a traditionally rich, highly differentiated non-university research landscape

2.1 Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG)

Scientists of the MPG primarly carry out knowledge-oriented basic research. This is why nearly 90% of the MPG’s budget is provided as basic financing.


2.2 Helmholtz Gemeinschaft (HGF)

The HGF is another important pillar of the German research landscape. Basic financing accounts for some 90% of the funding for its 15 centres, which conduct both basic research, with large experimental facilities, and long-term research projects in the public interest, in areas such as health care, aerospace, energy, transport and the environment.

2.3 Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (FhG)

The basic financing accounts for about 40% of the total budget of the FhG, which is highly application-oriented. Basic financing for the FhG funds preparatory research that enables Fraunhofer institutes to develop their competences continually and to maintain their contacts to the academic world. Since the FhG’s basic financing is linked to the third-party funding that the organisation is able to attract, the FhG has a high incentive to mobilise such outside funding, especially from the business sector.


2.4 Leibnitz Gesellschaft (WGL)

The 80 institutions of the Leibnitz Association differ widely in their profiles. The WGL’s spectrum ranges from scientific service organisations to institutes oriented to basic research. As a result, the various Leibnitz institutes differ in the percentage amount (with respect to their overall funding) of third-party funding that they raise.

Technology Transfer Offices and Agencies from PROsEdit

1. TTOs

Each university principally owns a Technology Transfer Office which supports technology transfer between university and industry.


2. Patent Marketing Agencies of the Technologieallianz network

A federal programme starting 2002 was set to promote the commercialisation of university research through the creation of Patent Marketing Agencies (PMAs). 21 PMAs take part to this programme of which 13 didn´t exist before. There is at least one PMA in each federal state which is collaborating with the universities. The PMAs aim to provide professional services to the universities and non-university research institutes. They provide a range of services, including case-by-case consultancy and training for scientists on IP issues and the evaluation of the patentability and commercial potential of new technologies. The agencies are responsible for evaluation of invention disclosures and drafting, filing and managing patent applications. They provide commercialisation services, working with university technology transfer offices. The PMAs are responsible for negotiating, finalising and monitoring commercialisation contracts, usually via licenses, sometimes via start ups.


Since the initial two-year funding period (2002-2003) has proved to short for the PMAs to open up alternative sources of funding or become commercial enterprises – studies and international experience prove that it takes about 8 to 10 years to get sufficient income generated from patent licensing - , the Federal Government has decided to extend funding at a reduced level. The second programme funding (2004-2006) is currently running. In this programme the Federal Government support 50% of the costs and the Länder the other 50%. The income generated by a deal is split among the university, the inventor(s) and the agency (about one third each). It may happen that a single deal involves more than one agency, especially when the agency, to which the invention is disclosed, lacks specific knowledge of the invention field. Most of the employees of the Patent Marketing Agencies have an industry background.


Thanks to the PMAs the IP awareness concerning inventions at the universities rose considerably and is managed more professionally. Only inventions which have a market potential go through the patent application procedure. Companies are contacted pro-actively with patent-protected and market-oriented technology offers. Large companies and above all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) benefit from this professional service. Compared with conventional R&D projects, companies get a head-start on their competitors and have a reduced risk of flawed development. Moreover through the PMAs they get a better access to the universities and their research development capabilities. It is particularly right for the SMEs which most of the time don’t have enough R&D resources and connections to the universities. As part of the agreement with the universities, the PMAs keep researchers continuously informed, not only about specific companies’ needs, but also on market/technology trends in general, giving support to the demand-pull research activity.


To optimize synergy the 21 PMAs have pooled their forces into a national network: the TechnologieAllianz e.V. [1] which counts 26 members. Members of the nationwide network represent more than 200 scientific institutions with over 100,000 scientists. Thus, the network is able to offer to companies a wide patent portfolio, which includes more than 2,000 patents in different technology fields, pooling the complementary ones. Even if technology transfer agreements most frequently involve just one patent, the pooling strategy shows to be appreciated by the client companies, which are offered a wider panel of investment options.

TechnologieAllianz is the German network of patent marketing and technology transfer agencies. Established in 1994, TechnologieAllianz has operated as a registered association since 1999. The network provides access to a wide range of inventions from German universities and other research institutes. TechnologieAllianz has developed a customer-oriented service concept, offering both patent-protected inventions and tailored search procedures for new technology solutions.

The www.technologieallianz.de website presents a selection of market-oriented and patent-protected inventions from German universities and non-university research. The network and its members have become an integral part of the German technology transfer landscape.


TechnologieAllianz Members:

1. Patent Marketing Agencies

ESA GmbH, Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt Fraunhofer Patent Center for German Research, Munich, Bavaria GINo GmbH, Kassel, Hesse IMG GmbH, Kaiserslautern, Rhineland-Palatinate INNOVECTIS GmbH, Frankfurt, Hesse innoWi GmbH, Bremen ipal GmbH, Berlin N-transfer GmbH Patents/Licensing, Hanover, Lower Saxony PVA SH GmbH, Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein PATON-PVA, Ilmenau, Thuringia PROvendis GmbH, Mülheim, North Rhine-Westphalia PVA MV AG, Rostock, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania PVA Tübingen – Ulm GmbH, Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg rubitec GmbH, Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia SPVA, Dresden, Saxony TLB GmbH, Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg TransMIT GmbH, Gießen, Hesse TuTech Innovation GmbH, Hamburg Saarland University Knowledge and Technology Transfer, Saarbrücken, Saarland ZAB GmbH Brainshell, Potsdam, Brandenburg

2. Others

EZN GmbH, Hanover, Lower Saxony HKS GmbH IPC, Hamburg Steinbeis-Transferzentrum Infothek, Villingen-Schwenningen, Baden-Württemberg TU Dresden Knowledge and Technology Transfer, Dresden, Saxony WTSH GmbH, Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein ZPT Saar e.V., Saarbrücken, Saarland


3. Other patent marketing agencies

• Garching Innovations (GI)

GI is the patent and licensing branch of the Max Planck Society and responsible for commercialising the research generated in some 70 Max Planck research facilities.


• Ascenion [2]

The members of the Helmholtz Association, Germany's 15 national science centres, have their own technology transfer departments. Research generated in the Helmholtz centres specialising in the life sciences is commercialised by Ascenion GmbH. Ascenion has partnership agreements with a number of institutes from the Helmholtz Gemeinschaft and from the Leibniz Gemeinschaft.

• EMBLEM [3]

EMBL Enterprise Management Technology Transfer GmbH (EMBLEM) is an affiliate and the commercial arm of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). EMBL established in 1974 is a basic research institute funded by public research funds from 19 member states, including most of the EU, Switzerland and Israel. EMBLEM identifies, protects and commercialises the intellectual property developed in the EMBL-world, from EMBL-alumni and from non-EMBL third parties. EMBLEM facilitates and accelerates the transfer of innovative technology from basic research to industry by working closely with industrial partners spanning the biotech, pharmaceutical, IT and mechanical/electrical engineering markets.

National AssociationsEdit

TechnologieAllianz: [4]

TechnologieAllianz is the German network of patent marketing and technology transfer agencies. The www.technologieallianz.de website presents to companies a selection of market-oriented and patent-protected inventions from German universities and non-university research.

Technology Transfer Surveys and sourcesEdit

1. Technology Transfer Surveys

to follow soon


2. Sources used for this Technology Transfer overview of Germany:


• Research & technology policy, R&T Note No. 072.03, Dec 2003, by Ursula Roos, Britisch Ambassy

• OECD survey, Turning Science into Business – Patenting and Licensing at public research organisations, Chapter 9 on Germany, by T. Gering, Ventratec GmbH and U. Schmoch, Fraunhofer ISI

• BMBF Website, [5]

• BMBF Report of the Federal Government on Research 2004