Since its foundation, IST Austria has recognized the important contributions to society that our researchers can make by developing new ideas and technologies. One of the founding principles of IST Austria is that the Institute should play an active role in getting those technologies onto the market, for instance by supporting the establishment of spin-off companies.
Austrian federal law, in conjunction with IST Austria employment contracts, awards IST Austria the ownership rights to inventions and innovations made by its employees. In return, IST Austria assumes responsibility for seeking appropriate intellectual property (IP) protection and identifying avenues for commercialization of its innovations. Employee inventors receive a share of any income earned by IST Austria from the transfer of their discovered technologies to the market.
The Technology Transfer Office manages the portfolio of technologies owned by IST Austria. It works closely with researchers to establish strategies for transferring technologies to industry, be it through established companies or start-ups.
For IST Austria researchers interested in starting a spin-off company, the Technology Transfer Office can provide support in the form of training (for instance through the entrepreneurship lab), useful personal connections, and orientation towards start-up funding schemes and incubation programs. TWIST talks provide a spotlight for scientific entrepreneurs to inspire others to follow the same path. Researchers interested in starting the commercialization process of a specific project can qualify for a TWIST Fellowship program, a one-year program that allows researchers to fully concentrate on assessing and developing the commercial potential of a scientific discovery.
IST Austria has facilitated the development of a new seed stage investment fund, focusing on spin-offs from Austrian academic institutions and deep tech startups. IST Cube is investing in pre-seed situations up to series A rounds and provides hands-on support for aspiring academic founders.
IST PARK is a technology park adjacent to the campus of IST Austria. It provides office and lab space for spin-offs from IST Austria and companies that are seeking the proximity to the Institute. IST Park is a joint development between ecoplus, the business agency of the Province of Lower Austria, and IST Austria.