V4 Conference on the Third Mission of Higher Education and Innovation Networks

  • May 15, 2018
On the occasion of the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group in parallel with Hungary’s HEInnnovate activities, the Ministry of Human Capacities and Tempus Public Foundation in collaboration with AmCham Hungary organized an international professional networking conference on May 10, 2018. The conference aim was to bring together stakeholders of innovation networks to discuss and present best practices and new forms of cooperation between higher education institutions, local governments, businesses and professional organizations.

The plenary session was followed by two break-out goup discussions, one of which was organized with the support of the AmCham Innovation Policy Task Force. In its advocacy activities, AmCham pays special attention to promoting business-university cooperation in R&D&I as a key to competitiveness, and also regards the proper management of intellectual property („IP”) by universities an important element.

During the plenary session, Dr. Gábor Németh, Director of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office gave a presentation on intellectual property rights management and regulation in the region, and on recent trends of R&D spending, and number of patent and PCT applications in the Visegrad countries.

The panel dicussion titled „How can university excellence boost innovation” focused on the acquisition of title, valuation, management and utilization of intellectual property by universities in the Visegrad Group.  The prestigous panel included  representatives coming from both academia and the corporate sector of the V4 countries: Tamás BENE, Director of the Technology Transfer Office at University of Debrecen (Hungary); Lubomír BILSKÝ, Director of science support section of the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information; Marcin POSTAWKA, Deputy Director of Centre For Innovation and Technology Transfer at the Warsaw University of Technology, Poland; Otomar SLAMA, Deputy Director of the Centre for Knowledge and Technology Transfer of Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; and Tomas SZASZI, EMEA Strategy Leader at Honeywell Technology Solutions, Prague, Czech Republic. The discussion was moderated by Joerg BAUER, the Co-Lead of AmCham Hungary’s Innovation Policy Task Force and President and CEO of Tungsram Group.

Click here to open the gallery of the event

The panelists explored the differences and similarities in the ways their institutions support the management and utilization of IP. They all agreed that currently an important task for technology transfer offices and alike centers to raise awareness and prestige of IP among university stakeholders.

Resources of individual universities are somewhat limited for providing technology transfer services, therefore close cooperation and support among partners is needed. Solutions that can tackle current challenges were shared, including the idea of Proof of Concept Funds, potentially at national or at regional (Visegrad Country) level.

Panelist Tomas Szaszi, shared best practices of Honeywell Technology Solutions (Czech Republic) in pursuing university-business cooperation and reflected on the role companies could play in supporting universities in expanding and realizing their „third mission”. He also emphasized what can comfort business in collaborational projects of technology transfer. Shared best practices include: (i) cooperation with universites beyond IP, e.g. the exchange of employees by inviting university researchers to the company and also by sending company representatives to teach at universities, (ii) the close cooperation and strong network of the region’s key stakeholders such as cities, universites and companies; (iii) practical and up-to-date curricula channeled to universities through workshops that are paid for by companies.


Panelists also discussed that out of 100 university inventions, only 3 or 4 will result in a licensing agreement, and probably only one will generate income for the university. While this prognosis limits direct financial income from IP for the university, IP, however, can be regarded as an enabler. It can be recognized as a tool to attract international students whose tuition fees generate income for universities.

Universities could utilize different ways to bolster their attractiveness by focusing on communicating on their success in creating spin-offs and cooperation with business, instead of presenting results in publications and success in attracting funds.  

Panelists agreed to explore cross border cooperation in the future and to make follow-up on the ideas and actionable points that were discussed.  


You are welcome to download

  • Presentation by Dr. Gábor Németh, Director of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, on the “Intellectual property rights management and regulation in V4 countries”  from here.
  • Summary of the event in Hungarian from here.
  • Conference program with links to the plenary presentations from here.
  • Click here to open the gallery of the event