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An exploratory study on technology transfer in software engineering

: Diebold, Philipp; Vetro, Antonio; Méndez Fernández, Daniel


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-; IEEE Computer Society; Association for Computing Machinery -ACM-:
ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, ESEM 2015. Proceedings : 22-23 October 2015, Beijing, China; ESEIW and ESEM
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4673-7899-4
ISBN: 978-1-4673-7900-7
International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement (ESEM) <2015, Beijing>
Empirical Software Engineering International Week (ESEIW) <2015, Beijing>
Fraunhofer IESE ()
software engineering; technology transfer; embedded system; context

Background: Technology transfer is one key to the success of research projects, especially in Software Engineering, where the (practical) impact of the outcome may depend not only on the reliability and feasibility of technologies, but also on their applicability to industrial settings. However, there is limited knowledge on the current state of practice and how to assess the success of technology transfer. Objective: We aim at elaborating a set of hypotheses on how technology transfer takes place in Software Engineering research projects. Method: We designed an exploratory survey with the participants of two large research projects in Germany, which involve both industrial and academic partners in the area of model driven development for embedded systems. Results: Base on the extracted respondents answers of this survey, we defined a resulting theory which is based on the following set of main hypothesis: Most of the technologies developed in research projects are not mature enough for a direct application, but need post-project customisation to fit the industrial contexts (H1). Common models that represent technology transfer as a transaction of an object from a transferor to a transferee does not fit industrial reality (H2). Additionally, technology transfer takes place without an explicit process (H3). Regarding transfer mediums, most used mediums are human-intensive (H5) and industry organisations gain new knowledge mainly within their own confines (H4). Finally the motivations that drive the transfer in industry and academia are heterogenous (H6). Conclusions: From the theoretical perspective, this theory and set of hypotheses extracted from the survey results will be further explored and tested in different follow-up activities. This initial set, however, already may serve as a basis for independent assessments from other researchers to collaboratively shed light on a how technology transfer takes place in Software Engineering research projects, which are the barriers, and how to improve the transfer into practice. From the practical perspective, our results may be used as a basis for an evaluation framework for the transfer of the developed technologies in our projects. This would also help companies in getting new developed technologies transfer easier to their specific context.