Innovation programme bridges gap between research and commercialisation
Swansea University’s Department of Research and Innovation (DRI) has delivered its annual training course for early stage academic researchers on how to commercialise their ideas and develop profitable business ventures.
Researchers from across the University were invited to take part in the Bridging Innovation Programme, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which encouraged them to think innovatively about the commercialisation of their research and ideas.
The aim of the course was to help them consider the ‘impact’ of their research and provide them with the knowledge and tools to either take forward their ideas by creating ‘spinout companies’, submit patents for licensing, or use their research to maximise positive economic and social impact within business and communities.
The Bridging Innovation Programme is an example of how DRI supports the University’s academic research staff and enhances innovation – sowing the seed at the right stage with researchers to maximise on development.
The course’s organiser Ali Parker, Swansea University’s Knowledge Transfer Officer, said: “Bridging Innovation is the first step toward developing a knowledge economy in Wales, a critical area for the University as far as developing entrepreneurship, enhancing research credibility, and generating income.
“We have been fortunate to welcome some excellent speakers from industry, who have been through the process of creating their own companies either while at University or after graduating, and who have provided an insight into their success.
“We worked closely with Chris James from Ciotek – a business development consultancy – who delivered the four-day course to 18 of the University’s most enterprising early stage academics.
“The feedback from the attendees was extremely encouraging, and the experience has proven the need to support early stage academics, to help them realise the potential commercial activity their ideas could bring, as well as showing them the means through which to achieve this.”
The four-day course culminated in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style panel session, with experts from Swansea University’s Intellectual Property group and companies such as Forbury Investment, ICreate, and Shakerscope, provide advice on business plans and ideas.
Other businesses who took part in this year’s event were We Predict and FaulvelKhan – both local successful start up companies.
One of the course’s attendees was Dr Paul Nash from Swansea University’s Centre for Innovative Ageing, based in the College of Human and Health Sciences.
He said: “The course was both insightful and extremely informative. Meeting with, and speaking to, those who had successfully navigated the pathway from academia into established innovative entrepreneurial enterprises provided excellent context for the theoretical framework.
“The course was well conceived and executed, enabling me to not only see much more commercial potential in my work but also to value the Intellectual Property generated as much more of an asset to both myself and the department in which I work.
“I very much look forward to building on the relationships established with other course attendees as cross-disciplinary working is clearly key to novel, insightful and innovative approaches in research.”
For more information about Swansea University’s Department of Research and Innovation (DRI) visit http://www.swan.ac.uk/research_innovation/.
Image caption: EPSRC Bridging the Gaps attendees – Innovators of the Future.