RWTH Aachen University (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 4747-4751
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.1185
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
Global challenges such as digitisation, globalisation, and climate change have triggered structural changes worldwide, with a special effect on Germany with respect to the coal phase-out in some regions. These changes put a specific focus on topics such as effective knowledge and technology transfer from the perspective of labour research between university and the industry, especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Knowledge and technology transfer refers to passing on information emerging from scientific technological research to society, which makes it an intrinsic part of technological innovation processes.

In the context of this paper, the academic (mostly university-based) labour researchers are the Regional Competence Centres - “ReKodA”. They aim to enable companies to use the potential of technology, to better assess the associated risks, and thus to increase their competitiveness.

As universities typically have a theoretical perspective and expertise in opposition to a predominantly practice-oriented approach of the industry, it can be challenging for these two entities to exchange effectively. Thus, the research question arises, how it can be ensured that knowledge collected in universities and research organisations is transferred in an efficient and usable manner to the actors in SMEs who would, in turn, benefit from it in the industrial context?

To investigate how to close the gap effectively, it has proven useful to make the results of labour research available to actors (e.g. from practice) who might be interested or influenced by them. Transfer engineering (Leisten, 2012) plays an important role in this process. The concept refers to promoting knowledge originating from science into practice by establishing realistic approaches to improve both knowledge flow and exchange between science and practice while collaborating already. One reason for the gap between labour research and industry is the difficulty to apply the results of research into specific, practice-oriented contexts of application for SMEs and other organisations (e.g. consultants for SMEs, stakeholders, and union actors…).

In order to examine methods for closing the gap, this paper presents an assessment of the challenges faced by the ReKodA. The assessment has taken place via interviews with specific respect to research topics selected by the ReKodA. These topics derive research questions such as: how do the centres make their results available and measure the success of the transfer as well as to what extent does the network and relationship between institutions affect their work, e.g. in terms of usefulness and benefits or values? Thus, the paper focuses on the results of interviews conducted with ReKodA and discusses the opportunities and challenges to more effectively measure and guarantee success in knowledge and technology transfer.
Knowledge transfer, competence centres, interviews, cooperation.