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The head of Microsoft’s prestigious research facility in Cambridge comments on Europe’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to technology transfer:


I think in many areas, Europe is good, but we are not as good as our competitors in America or in China. In those countries, there is much more of an expectation that people doing research in universities as well as having an academic perspective will also think about how their ideas can be exploited, either by partnering with industry or by creating spin-out companies.

Listen to the full interview with Andrew Herbert here. [mp3], 5:45 min

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  1. Technology transfer is impeded by Patents. This whole dialog is about taking an idea and forming a company or giving to a company the idea to make money. That would be to assign a barrage of patents to the idea preventing anyone else from following up with an improvement on the first idea. The USA is all messed up in regards to patents and Europe is being tricked into falling into the same trap. Look at Micrsofts track record. Convicted Monopolist. Major EU fines for not following anti-trust rules. Totally subverted the Open Document Standard process. If you want to share knowledge look to open source ideals. Like the GPL license. Why does Microsoft make all its licenses incompatible with the GPL? This generous license keeps software open to all to learn and build on. Do not trust Microsoft…. look into how they really are. All those billions they have were obtained by their monopoly and dirty tatics with competors trying to compete on the windows platform. If you want Innovation look to Linux or the other unixes that are open source and a freedom type license. Yes I’m from the USA. And Europe is Way smarter then USA cause they have not yet fallen into the Patent trap. Be smarter then us. Keep your ideas open to improvement.

  2. Microsoft’s research chief Andrew Herbert said in an interview with EurActiv:
    “the most important thing is to have the pool of talented people with smart ideas and the right incentives to help them create those companies and help those companies thrive”.

    Michel Cosnard, the chairman of the French Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (INRIA):
    “When we launch a new programme at Inria, we always think of the outcome of the programme and how to sell it. Often the outcome is some kind of technology or software development or a technology that is patented. But it is not enough to just create a technology – it also needs to be transferred. So for each technology we are trying to find the right vector – to know with whom and what it could work”.

    Please look at my -first version- blueprint of the creation of a ‘talent pool’, the right ‘incentive’ in itself or the ‘right vector’.

    For ‘best practices’ it might be organized like CERN, starting smaller of course.

    The interview with Andrew Herbert is on
    Down the page is a link with my letter to the editor, reminding Europe that they have to keep a promise. Products are also products of the mind: smart ideas.

    Question for Mr. Herbert,
    Not so long ago, one of your collegues from Redmond washed the dishes at my home after making chocolate chip cookies. We talked about Microsoft’s Photosync. There were no ideas for it’s implementation yet. Well, guess who cooked the cookies that day ? Do you like to ‘accept cookies’ or rather ideas by means of an “all-way” street like the Projectmanagement agency I proposed?

    Thank you for your attention and have a creative meeting on the 28th !

    Renate Wortelboer
    aka “Mrs. Hicks”

  3. This is a good post.I cannot but agree that in America and China people doing research in universities as well as having an academic perspective will also think about how their ideas can be exploited.

  4. Well, of course in many areas, Europe is good. But its competitors in America or in China are also great. It depends on what sphere of life and economics we take into consideration.

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