Understand the Process
Depending on your field of expertise and the type of research you carry out, the commercial potential of your research output may take different forms (products, platform technologies, service provision, licensing to existing companies, establishment of a start-up company) and may have very short to very long windows of opportunity.
In all cases successful commercialisation revolves around meeting an unmet need. The larger, more urgent and more intractable the unmet need is then it generally follows that there will be larger commercial potential.
In some areas, protecting the invention (i.e. patenting) is extremely important. The patenting process will add some requirements on your research group activities (i.e. be mindful not to publish information that could compromise a strong patent being filed).
In other cases, possessing deep know-how and expertise in a certain area, and spotting and quickly exploiting an opportunity on a first-come basis is much more important and critical to success.
Commercialisation of your research has many potential rewards: translation of research into products, creation of start-up companies, supporting local economy and creating jobs.
The potentially successful commercialisation of your research starts with your scientific excellence and awareness of the needs it can address in a competitive way.
Along the way the realisation of its full potential, there are key processes that need to be adopted to facilitate the transition:
- Early recognition of the end goal of your project(s) and visualisation of implementation of your proposed solution(s) will go a long way to shape the project towards practical deployment
- Watch out for the early public disclosure of your results that could kill a strong patent application. Talk to a Technology Transfer team member early
- Realise that many people will be needed and involved in assisting and shaping the commercialisation effort; ranging from your research associate(s), to the funding agency supporting the work, your Technology Transfer team contacts, patent agents, industry collaborators, business partners and investors to name a few. Each of them will come with different 'needs' based on their function and objectives.