Published June 22, 2021 | Version v1
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Open Hardware is ready to help Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) maximise the impact of academic research

  • 1. Drexel University, US; University of Bath, UK
  • 2. University of Cambridge, UK
  • 1. LISIS, IFRIS - LabEx SITES, Université Gustave Eiffel, France
  • 2. Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna
  • 3. Deputy Director - Technology Transfer, Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile
  • 4. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), US
  • 5. Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) and Colorado University, Boulder, US
  • 6. Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College, Tanzania
  • 7. University of Brasília, Brazil
  • 8. European Organization ofr Nuclear Research (CERN), Switzerland
  • 9. University of Cambridge, UK
  • 10. Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), Uganda
  • 11. SciScript Communications, US
  • 12. Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy, New York University Law School, US
  • 13. MboaLab and University of Yaounde II, Cameroon
  • 14. Bongo Tech & Research Labs (Formerly STICLab), Tanzania
  • 15. Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei, Brazil
  • 16. Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile
  • 17. University of Bath and OpenFlexure Project, UK
  • 18. Open Environmental Data
  • 19. Gathering for Open Science Hardware
  • 20. Independent


On March 8th and April 14th of 2021, members of the Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH) community convened two virtual writing workshops with open hardware practitioners and technology transfer officers to discuss the potential of open hardware for Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs). This policy brief is the culmination of these discussions, highlighting how open hardware provides opportunities for TTOs outside of the current patent-and-license model and characterizing what is needed in order to support the adoption of open hardware by TTOs.

Key Messages

1. Open hardware provides an opportunity for Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) at universities to exploit the potential of existing academic outputs that do not fit in the current patent-and-licence technology transfer paradigm. 

2. It is possible for TTOs to adopt open hardware as part of their technology transfer toolbox today. 

3. As seen with the response to the COVID-19 crisis, open hardware accelerates innovation, opening up the possibility of new multi-scale partnerships with stakeholders in industry, civil society and government. 

4. The open hardware community can work with TTOs on strategies to facilitate this transition, including the development of dedicated training materials and activities, fostering connections between TTOs, and identifying community champions at universities that can serve as focal points.

This work was made possible by support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to Gathering for Open Science Hardware, Inc.



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