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Universities told to embrace knowledge transfer

Knowledge transfer and innovation must become a larger part of university activity in Germany and should be honoured accordingly, a council of scientists has said.

The Wissenschaftsrat, which advises Germany’s federal government, has published recommendations to help universities reduce the “asymmetry” between research, teaching and knowledge transfer. In a position paper published after the Wissenschaftsrat’s autumn meeting in Weimar from 19 to 21 October, the council called on universities and other scientific institutions to embed knowledge transfer in their institutional strategies and to take responsibility at management level.

The main barrier to successful knowledge transfer was a lack of recognition of it, the council said, as this was not considered as an achievement in the same way that research excellence was. The council recommended that achievements in knowledge transfer be given the same prestige as scientific achievements, and that similar incentives be used for both.

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