TCUE is the Spanish acronym of ‘University-Business Knowledge Transfer’, a project launched by the Regional Government of Castilla y León. It began in 2008 as part of the Regional R&D and Innovation Strategy of Castilla y León 2007-2013, and is now part of Research and innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation 2014-2020 of Castilla y León (RIS3).
The TCUE project is designed to:
- Greatly improve links between the academic world and business by promoting entrepreneurial skills and the innovation culture at universities.
- Incorporate knowledge as an asset for the regional economy.
TCUE’s specific objectives are to:
- Recruit specialist human resources for university knowledge transfer offices to facilitate university-business interaction. Bring the university science-technology offer into line with the needs of the region’s production sector.
- Increase the number of joint projects between universities and companies presented to regional, national and European R&D and Innovation support programmes.
- Increase the number of company- and business-oriented patents and intellectual property rights registered and commercialized by the universities of Castilla y León.
- Ensure the academic world creates more spin-offs and technology-based firms.
Castilla y León has a powerful university system with 9 universities in all, 4 public and 5 private. All 9 universities or its agencies are involved in the project.
The coordinating the project is the Fundación Universidades y Enseñanzas Superiores de Castilla y León (FUESCYL), a not-for-profit organization answerable to the regional government.
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The project is financed entirely by the Regional government, which has mobilized a budget close to €14.4 million. The project was launched in 2008 and is still live. After the initial phase, the project had to be redefined to adapt it to an extremely complicated economic and budgetary context, in the midst of a profound economic crisis that is also affecting the relation between companies and universities. There are the following phases:
- T-CUE1: 2008-2009. The first stage of T-CUE (the so called, T-CUE1) was co financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), within the ERDF Operational Programme of Castilla y León 2007-2013.
- T-CUE2: 2010
- T-CUE3: 2011-2012
- T-CUE4: 2013
- T-CUE5: 2014
- PLAN TCUE 2015-2017, co financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), within the ERDF Operational Programme of Castilla y León 2014-2020.
Historically, research and teaching have been considered the two main missions of the university. Today, however, nobody questions the role of the academic world contributing to technological development through the transfer of knowledge, what is now known as the third mission. Although the two traditional missions must be maintained, universities have to assume their role in the economy, by being capable of responding better and faster to market demands and of developing alliances that can make good use of the scientific and technical knowledge they possess. In turn, many companies have now incorporated the “open innovation” approach, based on cooperation with universities, using public research as a strategic resource and thereby consolidating the universities’ third mission. Taking this into account, the Ministry of Education of the regional Government of Castilla y León launches the University – Business Knowledge Transfer Project (TCUE).