A researcher's journey
What to expect
We are often asked by our researchers how they can plan and prepare for the journey ahead. In commercialisation, no route to market is the same. Just as all ideas are unique in some way, so too are the outcomes and the pathways and partnerships required to get there.
There are some questions that are very common across all the researchers we work with, which we will try and answer here.
What do you look for?
We look for new technologies and inventions that offer clear and definable benefit(s) over competitors, in markets that are validated and accessible. Commercialisation requires a significant investment of time and money, so we want to be sure we work on the most attractive opportunities.
When should I start to think about commercialisation?
Thinking about the commercial potential of your research from day one can bring a range of benefits including:
• creating a stronger intellectual property position,
• creating demonstrations that are commercially relevant,
• realising new technology that is more likely to attract commercial support,
• opening up avenues of commercial funding that might not otherwise be accessible,
• reducing the perceived risk of your project by taking into account other stakeholders and students for example.
What about my IP?
Intellectual property developed by staff and students is covered by Flinders University’s IP Policy.
Can I publish?
It is a myth that you can either publish or patent. You can do both. It is just a matter of giving us time to review the commercial potential and to put in place appropriate protections. It is best to discuss this with us in detail, but rest assured we recognise the importance of publications to attracting grant and other funding support to help research and development of any opportunity. You should talk to Flinders Partners at least 2 months before you expect to publish aspects of your work; if necessary we can file a patent to protect the invention prior to publication. This is another reason why thinking about commercialisation and working with us from early on is important.
What are the benefits to me?
There are a range of benefits, financial and otherwise, for commercialising your research with Flinders Partners.
• Commercialisation can generate an additional income stream for you.
› The Flinders University IP Policy sets out how your personal financial return is calculated, should your technology or invention successfully achieves commercial revenues
› There is also the chance to realise a capital gain should your research be commercialised through a new start-up company
• You can realise additional research income for your work by partnering with commercial partners as part of the commercialisation process, such as through ARC Linkage funding.
• Commercialisation offers new or complementary career progression opportunities and networks
It is stimulating and personally rewarding; when you partner with external companies you get to work with smart, motivated people to translate your invention from the lab into the market and mainstream use.
How much time does this take?
The amount of time it takes to successfully commercialise research developed in the laboratory depends on a multitude of factors and is heavily influenced by the relevant field or industry. A well-developed software program may be commercialised in 12 months, whereas a new pharmaceutical drug candidate may require 10 years.
The commercialisation process may require you to devote substantial time to various stages of the process. This might include (i) liaising with patent attorneys for patent drafting, (ii) helping to draft commercial grant applications, (iii) attending phone calls and meetings with commercial partners and their scientific and business representatives, (iv) managing the technical aspect of commercialisation projects such as development projects, materials transfer, testing and evaluation, (v) and a range of other commitments depending on the stage of development and field or industry of interest.
Why was my idea not progressed?
Ideas are not progressed for commercial reasons. For example, if the market is not big enough or accessible enough, if there is little industry support, if there are better offerings already in the marketplace, if there is limited funding available to continue or complete research and development, if the core team members are unavailable, if the idea struggles with novelty and inventive step concerns and a possible patent infringement risk, if there is no credible business case or path to market, then the commercial risk and opportunity cost to progress the idea may be too high to justify further support.