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5 steps for research result valorisation

 
 

Define research result and its invention

Before approaching the entrepreneurial world, it is important to identify clearly your research result and the invention and innovation that stands behind the research result. Very often, you may have a lot of ideas related to your research which do not represent one single project but rather many projects and ideas that might be interrelated but separated at the same time.

Define clearly the main focus of the research and the result that lead to the invention as something new (a new product, service or process) that can be presented to the market in order to resolve a certain problem or a need identified by the market.

 

 

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Preliminary search and state of the art

The preliminary search can be performed in two ways:

  • Simply use search engines online to gather as much as information as possible related to the keywords used to identify the research result/invention. This search might result in collecting information about if somebody has already come up with the same idea/invention, if it is used and how, what sectors it applies to and what needs it satisfies. This type of search can be done by the researcher itself using the major commercial search tools and databases available on the web.
  • Preliminary patent search: priority art search in order to identify and analyze the existence of the patent already involving the research result or some of its parts, identify the major players interested in the result as much as potential new applicability or the freedom to operate within certain patent protection. This search can be done with the support of the Technology Transfer Office/ Industrial Liaison office within your university or the Research Performing Organizations, where available, using the specialized databases and search tools.

The information gathered and confronted will allow you to determine the feasibility of an invention to be transformed into innovation and find its market application. It will also allow the researcher and the University or Research Performing Organization to determine the feasibility of the commercialization of the invention before committing substantial resources to the venture.

 

 

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Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale was originally defined by NASA as “a type of measurement system used to assess the maturity level of a particular technology. TRL uses the parameter that evaluates the maturity of a technology according to a series of indicators that go from 1 (the basic principles are documented) to 9 (the technology is released, and industrial production is started). The TRL scale was introduced in EU funded projects in 2012 and it is currently the point of reference for determining the development or maturity of a research and its readiness for the market uptake and potential investments.
 

Find out more about TRLs
 

 

 

 

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Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Intellectual property rights help protect intellectual creations and include inventions, literary or artistic work, images, symbols, etc. If you comes up with a new invention during your research, the intellectual property rights will ensure that you benefit from your work by protecting the creation from unfair use by others. As European Patent Office explained in their inventor’s manual “at some point you must legally protect your intellectual property (IP) or you will not be able to:

  • Disclose it safely
  • Be legally recognized as its owner
  • Profit from its commercial exploitation
  • Prevent or discourage its unauthorized use by others

There are several forms of protection known as intellectual property rights (IPR). Usually, the best way to protect an invention as it evolves is to use a strategic combination of IPR. Many inventors assume that the only way to protect their idea is to patent it. While patents tend to be of primary importance, other forms of IPR should also be considered. One or more of these may have an important role to play in protecting your idea.”
 

 

 

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Commercialisation of the research result or innovation

Commercialisation of research results is a process through which the knowledge you produced through research and research results at universities and research centers is inserted into industrial processes or products interested to the market.

There are many ways of commercialising the invention/research result. Here are the most common ones:

  • Licensing – Through the identification of an industrial partner interested in the innovation. This mainly occurs when you do not intend to pursue with the start-up creation but are more focus on the research activity. Licensing agreement will allow an industrial partner to use, make, or sell the innovation by paying you as an owner the royalties or some other consideration in exchange.
  • Co-development – Identification of an industrial partner or investor interested in providing a further funding to the researcher (and University) in order to continue its research aimed at up-grading the TRL level and possible market uptake.
  • Spin off/start up creation –  There are enough elements and you are interested in proceeding with the commercialisation of the innovation by establishing your own startup or spinoff with the University’s participation. In this case you can turn to a business incubator or a private investor (Business angel or Venture Capital) in order to get some expert advice on how to define a business model and create a business plan of a future company, get support in up-grading the TRL level of the innovation, get access to the private and public investors interested in the innovation, etc.
 

 

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