Leuven Research & Development: 30 jaar doorbraak en innovatie aan een ondernemende universiteit pages:53-78
The development of industry-science links has received widespread attention as one of the factors contributing to contemporary innovation success and its subsequent economic benefits. One of the hallmark events of this evolution has been the creation of academic technology transfer units. K.U. Leuven Research and Development is one of the oldest and thereby most experienced academic technology transfer units in continental Europe. Thirty years of history and administrative heritage have led to a professional and well-performing transfer activity at K.U. Leuven that has received the necessary autonomy and degrees of freedom to operate within an academic context and to improve both the quantity and the quality of its service offerings. This has resulted in the creation of a significant patent portfolio that is currently successfully exploited, the genesis of 51 spin-offs companies to date and a yearly contract volume of 40 million Euro. It is also shown that this evolution has positively influenced both the quality and the quantity of the scientific output of the reseach groups involved. A matrix structure combined with an academic culture that reconciles the creative tensions between exploration and exploitation has enabled the university to reap the 'best of both worlds,' academic scientific exploration on the one hand and exploitation of academic science on the other hand.