Technology Transfer

Technology transfer is simply the intentional practice of taking research conducted with academic rigor and dispersing it to the world of practitioners.

Research is not an end unto itself; its ultimate purpose is to improve the state of practice. This requires a comprehensive plan to disseminate products of research to educators, students, and practitioners. To this end, the institutions of PacTrans emphasize research implementation and technology transfer by licensing and commercializing the products of research, presenting research products in relevant forums, producing a range of publications, managing academic journals, holding and attending meetings and symposia, and communicating via news outlets, social media, and webinars.

With regard to technology transfer, PacTrans looks at three important components of our research projects:

  • An “output” can be any new or improved process, practice, methodology, technology, software, training aid or other tangible product resulting from research and development tasks and activities.
  • An “outcome” can be anytime that an output is translated into real world change such as technique/technology implementation or policy change.
  • An “impact” is when and how outcomes make real measurable change to our collective transportation system.


Technology Transfer and the Research Process

PacTrans firmly believes that the best path to ensure research outcomes successfully move into practice includes involving stakeholders through the entire research process. The first step to successful technology transfer requires establishing technology transfer partnerships. PacTrans directors regularly meet with our external advisory board and other representatives of public agencies and private companies to discuss PacTrans activities as well as their external research focuses. We listen to their needs and connect them with investigator within our consortium who have expertise in their areas of interest.

Each PacTrans funded project requires the individual investigator identifying their own match source. Principal investigators (PIs) interested to submit proposals are encouraged to talk to relevant agencies and industry partners for possible match funds and data support. This ensures researchers and practitioners start their dialogs early for proper integration of future technology transfer needs and the research plan development. This provides additional accountability to the PIs that they are delivering the very best research outcomes, and whenever possible, something implementable by practitioners.

The final step is dissemination of project outputs. Regardless of partner participation during the research process, there are virtually countless agencies and companies that may find uses for newly developed technologies and techniques from our funded research projects. PacTrans endeavors to publicize all project outputs as broadly as possible:

  • Our investigators host and attend various conferences, workshops, seminars, and symposia to present work and findings.
  • PacTrans advertises funded projects on our website with individual project pages that include research project hotsheets and final technical reports for each project.
  • We highlight particularly successful research and outputs on our website, our quarterly newsletter, our annual report, and on various social media platforms.


PacTrans Success Stories

Many times, the outputs of a particular research project are not in a form that is directly implementable to practitioners. Thus at PacTrans, additional technology transfer funding is allocated through identification of “Success Stories.” Once original research is completed, investigators have the opportunity to submit their work as a Success Story with a proposal for how to utilize that additional funding to turn outputs into outcomes. These funds have been used by our investigators to do everything from hosting in-person workshops and virtual training webinars to building online tools from methods derived during original research to making videos the highlight and promote newly developed technologies and techniques. Because these funds also require outside funding match, investigators must engage outside interest in this work as well.