From Science to Business
The TWIST Research Transfer and Development GmbH, ISTA’s technology transfer organization, is developing the broader innovation ecosystem of the institute. As a one-stop shop, its mission is to raise awareness about the business dimension in academia, and consequently, to provide consulting and protection concerning intellectual property, license technologies developed at the Institute, nurture and finance spin-off projects, inspire and educate future founders, and liaise with other research organizations and industry. In 2021, the Spin-off Austria initiative honored ISTA’s technology transfer programs and facilities supporting entrepreneurship by awarding ISTA the first place as “Leading Austria Institution” in the category “Research Institutions”.
Since its foundation, ISTA has recognized the important contributions to society that our researchers can make by developing new ideas and technologies. One of the founding principles of ISTA is that the Institute should play an active role in getting those technologies onto the market.
Austrian federal law, in conjunction with ISTA employment contracts, awards ISTA the ownership rights to inventions and innovations made by its employees. In return, ISTA 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 ISTA from the transfer of their discovered technologies to the market.
TWIST manages the portfolio of technologies owned by ISTA. It works closely with researchers to establish strategies for transferring technologies to industry, be it through established companies or start-ups.
TWIST operates several initiatives to achieve its mission. The TWIST Talk lecture series aims to inspire researchers to explore commercialization routes for their projects. The TWIST Fellowship program evaluates and improves the marketability of results from basic science. It provides consulting, funds and infrastructure to selected students or postdocs for up to one year. Early explorative projects can obtain funding and support as TWIST Prototype Grants. The Entrepreneurship Lab is a seminar open to all of IST’s staff, providing an introduction to the foundation of technology startups.
To date, several projects were co-founded by scientists at ISTA and have since established themselves as technology companies with growing teams. They have also successfully received a seed investment from IST cube and other private investors.
IST cube is a seed fund enabling the growth of deep-tech and science-based startups and spin-offs. IST cube taps upon the experience of ISTA’s tech transfer team and is located at IST Park, providing its investees with a state-of-the-art lab and office environment. The fund looks for deep tech startups in an early investment stage and is able to provide follow-on investments, with a geographic focus on the Austrian region. In 2021, IST cube successfully closed an oversubscribed financing round of 45 million euros. As per end of 2021, IST has invested into 12 technology startups.
IST PARK, a joint initiative of ecoplus and ISTA, provides state-of-the-art infrastructure such as lab and office space to startups and SMEs that benefit from this unique location right next to IST. Currently, IST PARK houses eight tech-based companies, the IST cube spin-off fund together with five of its portfolio companies, as well as the TWIST fellows. Despite the first buildings being currently almost booked out, IST PARK remains open for requests concerning coworking desks, small office rooms, large individual offices, life science lab space, as well as custom facilities for technology companies.
Partners and Support
IST PARK is a project co-financed by funds of the European Fund for Regional Development (EFRE). For more information, please visit the EFRE Website.
IST cube is supported by InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (“EFSI”) set up under the Investment Plan for Europe. The purpose of EFSI is to help support financing and implementing productive investments in the European Union and to ensure increased access to financing.