Mind the Gap: Lessons from the UK to Brazil about the Roles of TTOs throughout Collaborative R&D Projects

Abstract The literature about collaboration for innovation has reported fundamental activities performed by intermediaries. In this paper, universities' technology transfer offices (TTOs) are placed as intermediaries between academic research and the industry. Our study focuses on collaborative research and development (R&D) projects between universities and industry in order to understand the roles of TTOs throughout the whole duration of the project. The main aim of this paper is to identify the roles of TTOs throughout collaborative R&D projects and suggest some lessons for Brazilian TTOs based on the experience of the United Kingdom. Through qualitative case studies in the United Kingdom and Brazil, the analyses show that both TTOs performed critical activities for collaborative R&D projects. Similar activities at both TTOs were the management of partnerships in terms of negotiating contracts and the protection and licensing of intellectual property. Findings also show that the search for partners in the beginning of the project, the pacifier role of the TTO to help mutual understanding, and the active commercialisation of academic research to external partners happened only in the UK case, which may generate implications for TTOs in Brazil.