30An innovation intermediary can be defined as a third party, offering intermediation services between different parties – in the case of UBC usually industry and research. In the last years many different types of intermediaries have been established. Depending on the scope of your projects different types of support might be needed. The following paragraphs give an overview about the different types:


Business incubators are spaces created and subsidized by private or public initiatives to allow entrepreneurs to stimulate the creation of new business initiatives in cooperative environments. In difference to science or technology parks, business incubators are usually limited to start-ups and young companies in early development phases. Business incubators forge new partnerships, facilitate flows and share of talent, resources and market knowledge. The key competence of these intermediaries hangs on the delivering massive education courses necessary for entrepreneurs to develop their early-stage technologies and privileged access to some sources of funding from VC, business angels, etc.

Science, technology and innovation parks

Science, technology or innovation parks are physical areas aiming to create high-technology economic development and advancing knowledge. Usually those parks offer a variety of shared resources and facilities, such as incubators, learning programs, laboratories, meeting rooms, telecommunication technology etc. While some are highly specialized for a specific technology, others are open to different industries. Depending on the regional set up, those parks might be managed by a local university, the local government or sometimes private. Usually the management works closely with the Technology Transfer Offices of the local universities.

Innovation Agencies

Innovation Agencies are facilitators on regional, national or continental level, fostering the generation and exploitation of ideas, disseminating know-how, linking relations among players, and coordinating activities between UBC-partners.




Resource provider

Skill sets required 

  • High level knowledge, skills, and experience in relevant consulting areas

Established track record

  • Skills recognised through reputation and preferably accreditation
  • Respect among peers
  • Evidence of ongoing learning and professional development
  • Strong ‘sales’ skills
  • Highly networked
  • Relevant industry knowledge
  • Knowledge of legal and IP advice and strategies
  • High level communication and negotiation skills
  • Ability to see ‘big picture’ and opportunity
  • Ability to follow through on leads and opportunities
  • Skills in capacity to ‘engage’ with parties.
  • Highly networked with business and research organisations
  • Leadership, initiative and capacity for lateral thinking
  • Excellent people skills
  • High level facilitation and communication skills
  • Capacity to engender confidence and trust
  • Understanding of terms, conditions and expectations of collaboration funding programs
  • Capacity to identify and form collaboration teams for joint ventures
  • Capacity to develop and articulate a compelling ‘business case’
  • Ability to provide value added to the collaboration team

Range of services provided

  • Identification of knowledge and technologies that will assist in developing products and services that meet a market need
  • Access to database services
  • Knowledge of R&D grants
  • Workshops, seminars and other networking events
  • Participation in competitions, awards
  • Seek out new knowledge and potential opportunities for client
  • Communicator/ translator of technology and opportunities
  • Advice on IP, capital raising, and potential partners
  • Independent broker or facilitator – assistance in negotiating contracts, purchases or sales
  • Anonymous and independent matching of technology possibilities
  • In-company placement of personnel
  • Provides introductions to potential strategic partners
  • Networking events and other informal and formal arrangements for people to establish contact
  • Forming and structuring collaborations to submit applications for funding under government funding programs.
  • Funding intermediary may also administer the grants program.

Conditions that allow them to operate effectively

  • Awareness
  • Ability to cross subsidise intermediary roles from value added consulting services
  • Client appreciation of the value of consultants
  • Ability of clients to pay fees
  • Receptor and absorptive’ capacity among business
  • Deal flow
  • Reputation, track record, integrity
  • Willingness of people and organisations to share technologies and capabilities
  • Capacity for reciprocation
  • Availability of funding programs

Barriers to operating effectively

  • Willingness of SMEs to commit financial Resources
  • SME confidence in credibility, independence, competency, and value add.
  • ‘Not invented here’ mentality. Absence of absorptive capacity
  • Suppliers having unrealistic expectations about the value of their technologies/ knowledge
  • Ambivalence to open innovation and innovation sourcing as a business strategy
  • Uncertainty and lack of clarity about the process
  • Limited availability of funding programs
  • Perception of ‘spin’ on part of the funding organisation