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Researchers will have the opportunity to think like a business for a day at a workshop designed to boost commercialisation. The Creating Value from Innovation workshop, run by The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet), is being held in Otago and Hamilton this week to help researchers identify the commercial potential of their research and innovations.
“By improving researchers’ commercial awareness and skills we’re helping ensure more research and technology innovations reach the marketplace. By helping researchers to think like a business, even if for just one day, we can radically increase the chances of their technology being used,” says workshop facilitator Nigel Slaughter, General Manager Commercial at WaikatoLink, a subsidiary of the University of Waikato.
Mr Slaughter says that commercialisation is not just the marketing of technologies, it’s about business opportunities. During the day researchers will create plans for how, when and where to work with the market as well as developing alternate applications for their ideas and risk management strategies.
Researchers, post-doctoral students and PhD students are attending today’s workshop in Dunedin hosted by Otago Innovation, the commercial company of the University of Otago.
David Christensen, Senior Commercialisation Manager at Otago Innovation says, “By giving researchers a practical framework for understanding the process of commercialisation, and how it relates to their research, they find it is easier to identify opportunities for commercialisation. We’re really keen to engage with researchers early on so it’s great to host today’s workshop.”
A key theme of the workshop is that commercialisation needs to be an inherent part of the research project. During the workshop researcher’s work on their own project, applying best practice commercialisation processes and gradually developing its commercial focus throughout the day.
The workshop covers how to how to evaluate the commercial potential of a project and how to make an opportunity commercial; how to align ideas with the market and how to market and communicate ideas; how the commercialisation process works and the role of the technology transfer office; and due diligence including the management of risk and IP strategies. The importance of collaboration and building relationships with research and industry partners, professionals and customers of new technologies is also reinforced.
Friday’s workshop in Hamilton is being hosted by Wintec, the region’s technical institution. Researchers are attending from a range of organisations including Wintec, the University of Waikato, Prima Innovation and Prima Group Limited, the commercial partner of Wintec.
John Luxton, Chief Executive of Prima Group Limited says, “Research can take many different forms from scientific to “man in a shed inventions”. Wintec is focussed on practical science and innovation and Prima keeps an eye out for research outcomes that can lead to tangible support and benefit for industry or general business. This workshop is a great way for us to reach out to the community of people who dare to think outside the norm.”
Luxton says to demonstrate they are serious about encouraging new thinking they have also created the Prima Prize for Innovation with a $10,000 award for the most valuable idea of the year as judged by a panel.
KiwiNet’s role is to empower those involved in research commercialisation by helping them access the tools, connections, investment and support they need. Founding members include Plant & Food Research, Otago Innovation Ltd, Lincoln University, AUT Enterprises, AgResearch, University of Canterbury, Industrial Research Ltd, Viclink and WaikatoLink. Support is also provided by the Ministry of Science and Innovation. For more on KiwiNet see http://www.kiwinet.org.nz