Universities are key agents in the socio-economic development of a region. Thus, the transfer of knowledge, recognised as the third mission of universities, is fundamental to development because it enables the knowledge acquired to be transferred to the business world.
The promotion of the third mission by universities, by driving evaluation processes for research results and public-private partnerships in R&D, is an example of the university’s commitment to society. The main available indicators associated with knowledge transfer are related principally to the protection of knowledge through patents, the creation of technology-based businesses or spin offs, and research, development and innovation (RDI) contracts. These indicators illustrate much of the effort currently made by universities to promote the third mission.