Knowledge transfer

In the process of transferring knowledge within the NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES, previously Technology Foundation STW), the policy with regards to intellectual property and publications and the users' committee is essential.

NWO Domain AES strives to ensure that the research results from NWO-funded research find their way to economic or societal application as far as possible. Every type of research funded by NWO Domain AES therefore has a users' committee.

Users' committee

In een users' committee the following parties are active participants: 

  • the project leaders
  • the executors (usually PhD students) working at involved knowledge institute(s)
  • the representatives of the users -  the intended applicants.

The participants exchange information that can add value to the scientific and technological quality of the research project. By participating in the user committee there is the possibility to be the first to be able to take note of the research results and to advise the researchers on the direction of the research.

Cooperation according to conditions

Collaboration in the users' committee is subject to the conditions for users' committees, which include rules on publications, reports, conferences, confidentiality and intellectual property. When a member of the user committee is interested in applying the research results commercially, there is the possibility to postpone a publication to make agreements about the use of that knowledge and possibly to file a patent application. NWO Domain AES, the knowledge institution and the company will then enter into a dialogue with each other, with the Guidelines for User Committees as the starting point.

Intellectual property

It is of great importance to (potential) users that they are the first to learn the results of the project. If they make no use of these results, the outcomes can be made known via publications, conferences, and the like. If the users do want to take advantage of the results, that can be done in various ways, with associated agreements. The rules about this are laid out in the Intellectual Property and Publication agreements of NWO Domain AES. For each project, agreements are also made in advance with the members of the users' committee.

Varying rules intellectual property

The interpretation of the rules on intellectual property can vary per funding programme. Would you like more information about this? The Call for Proposals describes which rules apply to the programme. For further information, please contact the programme coordinator mentioned in the Call for Proposals.

NWO takes the lead

It is possible to opt for an approach in which NWO takes the lead in making agreements about intellectual property. In that case NWO's intellectual property policy is followed and NWO is co-owner of the results and also the contracting party. NWO offers this service if companies (such as SMEs) and knowledge institutions want to cooperate and follow the NWO IP policy.

Make your own agreements

NWO also offers researchers and partners with whom they collaborate the opportunity to make their own agreements about intellectual property and publications that result from AES research. One of the possibilities is to make a distribution key based on the contributions that the various partners make to the research. Based on the allocation key, the rights can be transferred to one of the partners by means of a non-exclusive license. In addition, it is possible to acquire rights to knowledge from an AES project exclusively by means of a patent transfer at a market rate.

Want to know more about the legal options that NWO domain AES offers regarding intellectual property? Then contact the staff at the Legal Department (see right-hand column).


Mr. Leon van de Laarschot (Legal advisor IP & technology transfer) Mr. Leon van de Laarschot (Legal advisor IP & technology transfer) +31 (0)30 6001272