Towards an Italian way in the valorisation of results from public research

On issue: 

The paper is an attempt to discuss the strategies and actions of Italian university Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs). For this purpose, relevant data have been collected in a four-year annual survey (2002-2005) which the authors are coordinating within NetVal, the Italian University Network for the Valorisation of Research, in collaboration with ProTon Europe and Crui.
The empirical evidence seems to suggest the existence of several concurring processes, with a strong impact on TTOs’ performances. In particular, the development of a valorisation culture among Italian TTOs physiologically requires time and experience in order to occur. On the other side, the progressive professionalization of TTO staff is strictly dependent on the intensity of the commitment of the staff itself and it does not necessarily require a long time in order to be achieved. Last but not least, imitation effects at national level have pushed an increasing number of Italian universities to get more deeply involved in TT activities.
Despite the fascinating power of the (not always) profitable US licensing model, this appears to be not replicable within the Italian context, where the main mission of TTOs is generally recognized as that of effectively valorising the results of academic research rather than increasing licensing income for universities and inventors. In this respect, the possibility for the TTOs to contribute to the creation of an Italian way in the valorisation of results from public research appears to be not only desirable but also feasible.