Universities and public research institutes not only participate in public research and different activities, but also often share innovation skills through a set of mechanisms including advice, consultancy and extension services
These mechanisms are usually realized through formal or informal links between the scientific community, business or informal contracts. As a rule such services do not imply a transfer of intellectual property but rather aim to help business and governments achieve particular short term and strategy objectives in their innovative activities.
The following will apply in context of university’s adoption as consultants:
- Academic Consulting – Public sector researchers have knowledge and specialized skills which are valued by firms and are generally unavailable everywhere. Researchers therefore often engage as consultants either on their own via institutes to
advice or work with firms on particular problems.
- Extension Services – Traditional, small and medium size enterprises and even larger often lack knowledge of and access to readily available technologies that could improve their technologies or help resolve a particular problem in the course of their
Extension services try to modernize SMEs operators by inducing morale to them via technology adaptation. Such services are commonly administered by technology centres that have relatively close relations with universities and public research institutes.
As a rule consultancy and extension services are a form of auxiliary activity that does not have direct innovation output but rather helps other agents improve their capability and identify critical issues to produce innovative products, processes or services.
Therefore the main contribution of consultancy services is in the sharing innovation skills in a set of specific tasks where firms and other organizations are unable to achieve the best results and recognize then gap in their capability and resources. Universities and public research institutes often participate in activities related to proof of concept that may be part of their consulting and extension services. By these arrangements, innovators share the risk with established research facilities and can identify strength and
weaknesses and ideas at initial stages.