The University is concerned with two types of ‘market’. One is the market for the eventual use of the innovation, which could be individuals or companies purchasing or using some product or service. In developing a plan for commercialisation it is important to have a view of this eventual market, especially as, in order to make an impact, the innovation needs to solve a real problem better than the alternatives, or deliver superior benefits to the eventual users. The more the ‘end user’ market is understood the easier it is to recruit commercial partners.
The other type of ‘market’ is the set of immediate commercial organisations with whom we may partner. They will normally have a much deeper understanding of the eventual market, and be able to bring to bear their own skills and resources, especially regarding sales, distribution, product development, regulation and manufacturing.
The commercialisation process can be through a chain of organisations or companies, where each link plays its part (‘adding value’) and then hands over to the next. Each industry sector or marketplace has its own ‘value chains’ and our RED staff will either be familiar with these or research them as part of the commercialisation process.
In seeking to find partners, the first steps will often be to write a brief, non-confidential, description of the innovation, and then use it when contacting potential partners to establish their level of interest.
We also publish licensing opportunities on the RED website using the same descriptions.
Research collaborations often require the transfer of research materials or samples, and Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) are used to enable such transfers.