One of the most effective ways to transfer technology is to transfer people. Technology transfer is often best achieved when a person with an integrated knowledge of the technology or the application moves across the boundary. Personnel transfers should be encouraged. This is the power of university research in that a student who has worked on the project can become an industrial employee. But other transfers can be similarly effective.
If transfers cannot be made, there still must be substantial, frequent contact. This helps both sides in the technology transfer process. This is well-known for researcher-farmer interactions in agriculture, such as Hoffman, et al. (2007). It also is needed for researcher-industry interactions. As Moffat (1996) states: “programs seeking to improve technology transfer should focus on promoting person-to-person contacts.”
Formal technology transfer offices within research organizations can play an important and productive role in transferring technology. But they must get cooperation from the engineers and scientists or the offices can be counterproductive. The engineers and scientists must assume responsibility for leading the effort. But the technology transfer office should make introductions, reduce impediments, and help facilitate the technology transfers.