University-Industry Engagement Week

TechLink study shows companies often leave R&D partnership opportunities untapped

By David Schwartz
Published: March 7th, 2023

TechLink, the technology transfer intermediary for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, released results of its R&D Innovation Performance Study, and it revealed that many companies are potentially missing out on innovation opportunities in the form of government and university research partnerships.

Conducted by The MPI Group and based on responses from 152 U.S.-based executives across a range of industries, the study shows an opportunity for U.S. companies to leverage innovation best practices that could open market opportunities.

Key findings include:

  • Most companies lack a holistic innovation strategy — if they have one at all — yet are committing significant resources and personnel to R&D. Fewer than one-quarter (24%) or respondents reported having an innovation strategy that addresses all corporate departments. At the same time, 41% of companies dedicate more than 10% of their annual revenue to R&D, while nearly one-quarter (22%) have dedicated R&D employees comprising more than 10% of their full-time headcounts.
  • There is untapped opportunity in universities and government labs. Most companies view customers as key partners in product development, with almost half of companies (48%) characterizing their customers as frequent collaborators. By contrast, only 22% and 20% of companies frequently turn to universities and government labs, respectively, to bring new products to fruition.
  • Many companies struggle to efficiently turn ideas into action — while overlooking the value of existing technologies. Most companies (84%) say they turn half or less of new product or service ideas into budgeted projects. One way to improve efficiency is to tap existing technologies via licensing agreements and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), but just one-quarter of companies pursue these agreements for more than 10% of new products and services.

“This study offers insights into innovation opportunities and challenges familiar to TechLink,” says Austin Leach, TechLink’s associate director. “We’ve worked with companies of all sizes to inject new ideas and capabilities into their innovation and R&D efforts — accomplished through brokering nearly 2,000 technology transfer agreements between businesses and Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs labs. These agreements have resulted in billions of dollars in sales and expansion of the U.S. industrial base. And the best part: We do this at no cost.”

Companies looking to assess and improve their innovation practices can use TechLink’s new online benchmarking tool R&D Innovation Performance Interactive Assessment. It compares a company’s R&D innovation practices and performance to those of other companies, with breakdowns by industry, size, and other corporate characteristics.

Source: Valdosta Daily Times

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week