Since early 2000s, many universities in Europe have started to pay a lot of attention to their innovation and technology transfer activities and policies. As the oldest and biggest technical university in Sweden, KTH had to respond to these challenges and undertake substantial changes to transform its conservative system into one that actively supports innovation, technology transfer and entrepreneurship.
As an additional challenge, unlike many other European universities with an “institutional ownership system”, which gives universities the right to own inventions from publicly funded research, KTH has to act under a “professor-privilege system”, which gives researchers the right to own such inventions.
In 2007, to better respond to current challenges and scale up its innovation and technology transfer processes, KTH established an internal department called KTH Innovation. KTH Innovation supports different types of technology commercialization including creation of start-up companies, technology licensing, and industry collaborations. For KTH researchers and students, the support services are completely free of charge and confidential. KTH Innovation does not take a share or ownership of projects it supports. In selecting which ideas to pursue, KTH Innovation does not apply a strict selection process to weed out the best ideas, but prefers to deal with as many ideas as possible. Each idea is assigned to a business development coach who then follows and supports the project all the way.