Academia and the business sector: Freie Universität Berlin not only maintains an extensive network with the business sector, but also considers itself to be an engine driving economic development. As a result, transferring knowledge and technology is a high priority at the university. This is because both the natural sciences and the humanities yield inventions and new ideas that can form the basis for products of the future.
The transfer of knowledge and technology is accomplished in a number of ways:
Scientists, scholars, and those involved in the business sector receive outstanding support from Freie Universität in all three channels, for instance, contract management in cooperation with companies, through advice and contract management in patent and licensing matters, as well as through the founding service in Profund Innovation.
Scholars and scientists from Freie Universität present the results of heir research at trade fairs, which gives them an opportunity to network with potential partners in the business sector. A subsequent transfer of knowledge and technology occurs through contract research or collaborative research with companies. For students, cooperative initiatives with large corporate groups and with small and mid-sized businesses provide an added focus on real-world practice in their education, and graduates have an easier time starting out in their careers.
Freie Universität currently cooperates with partners including Bayer-Schering, Pfizer, BASF, BMW, and a large number of small and mid-sized businesses.
As soon as cooperative agreements are being set up, members of the Knowledge and Technology Transfer Team are involved in formulating contracts so that there is a clear understanding of the commitments of both parties and the involvement of intellectual property rights. Draft contracts are designed in advance and monitored over the course of the negotiations.
To provide information on academic activities at Freie Universität and make it easier for potential partners in the business sector to make contact with those affiliated with the university, Freie Universität Berlin maintains a publicly accessible online database. It presents the profiles of scholars and scientists and lists more than 8,500 current and completed research projects.
Profund Innovation is responsible for the exploitation of inventions that were created at Freie Universität. It coordinates the entire patent application process for inventions reported by members of the faculty and staff of Freie Universität in terms of patents and potential commercial use and makes commercial use of the inventions – for instance, as licenses for businesses or as the basis for starting a separate company.
Scholars and scientists can contact Profund Innovation for information, advice, and support on all issues having to do with inventions. In the management and exploitation of intellectual property rights, Freie Universität Berlin cooperates with service providers such as patent utilization agencies and patent attorneys.
One aim of Freie Universität is to promote the development of entrepreneurship among researchers and students as well as to create a university-wide entrepreneurial culture. Those starting new companies often have to rely on financial and technical support from others during the preparatory stages and while the business is getting off the ground. Profund Innovation supports students, researchers, and alumni of Freie Universität in starting their own businesses, from the initial idea right through to its successful implementation.