Category: Uncategorized

New Pre-Conference Start Ups Masterclass – Register Now!

KCA Start Ups Masterclass

KCA will be holding a Start Ups Masterclass on Wednesday 12 September (just prior to the conference) to provide participants with the best available methods and insights for achieving success managing PRFO startups from inception to exit.  This masterclass is ideal if you are, or will be, working with startups as part of your commercialisation role within a PRFO.  Places for this masterclass are strictly limited.

Click here for more information and to register.

KCA Warranties & Liabilities Webinar – 2 August 2018

Presented by Rachel Sciascia of Gadens, this webinar will give a summary of warranties, liabilities and indemnities involved in research and commercialisation transactions. It will provide a high level overview of how these concepts work in practice and how they can be negotiated in commercial agreements. By the end of the webinar, it is expected that a technology transfer practitioner will understand how these interact with other commercial considerations and give them confidence to work with their legal counsel to achieve a positive outcome for their organisation.

Click here for more information and to register.

Become a Registered Tech Transfer Professional Deadline – 20 July 2018

RTTP is the international professional standard for knowledge transfer and commercialisation practitioners working in universities, industry and government labs. The RTTP framework recognises demonstrated competence and experience across the breadth of technology transfer, from IP commercialisation through to university business collaboration and start-up company creation.

RTTP invites career advancement and mobility, international recognition – and great job satisfaction in a rewarding role that can literally change the world! There are over 400 professionals worldwide who have all been awarded this credential. Why not join them?

Register Now – KCA Industry Engagement and Business Development Course

7 June 2018, Monash University, Clayton

Places are still available for the upcoming Industry Engagement and Business Development Course.

This one-day Business Development course is for those undertaking industry engagement activities within their research organisation. The course covers off proactive strategies to ensure the greatest return from engagement activities and efforts, including:

  • Choosing organisations to work with and mapping possible client engagement opportunities
  • Expanding existing client relationships via warm introductions, referral and science/non-science networking (avoiding cold calling)
  • Understanding your value proposition and leveraging what your organisation does best
  • Conference and trade show preparation and goal setting
  • Set up for great meetings. Have fewer, better meetings that achieve more
  • Communicating and connecting effectively with a variety of stakeholders. Learn to create value propositions in their language
  • Understanding your client’s needs. Opportunity validation and active listening

This course will focus on core principles, and will enable attendees to develop a toolbox of practical skills that can be applied across various areas of their work.

Click here for more information and to register.


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”

One of the great things about living in Australia is the level of volunteering across all aspects of society. According to Volunteering Australia around 35% of the adult population is involved in some sort of volunteering activity. In 2010 the value of formal volunteering across Australia was over $25B with a further $60B in more informal volunteering! That is a lot of people putting in a lot of time to help make society a better place. A similar survey had over 95% of them satisfied or very satisfied with their volunteering!

We are just about to fill out the latest census survey, and in it you will find questions about volunteering. When I filled out the last census I had to think carefully about whether I volunteered, but didn’t take long to realise that I did in both my home and professional life.

Like many parents all across the country I helped out with a local sports team; in my case coaching one of my sons’ cricket team for a number of years. This brought me great satisfaction from seeing a group of boys improve their skills year on year and have a lot of fun along the way. The boys are now too good for me, so I have passed that role onto someone with greater experience to continue that role. However, I am still actively involved with the club, playing in one of the low grade senior teams, help our juniors adapt to playing senior cricket, having fun and occasionally even scoring a few runs myself!

In my professional life I was volunteering for KCA, at that point as Vice Chair, responsible for professional development. KCA has put a lot of effort into improving the professional development opportunities for members, from developing and running courses, being a founder member of the Association of Technology Transfer Professionals to the recent skills framework that we have developed for the profession that is getting plenty of attention worldwide. None of this would have been possible without the help of a whole range of volunteers. From those who developed the courses, and those in KCA and outside who helped deliver them; the people who have been involved with ATTP committees and review panels; and everyone who helped out in the work that led to the delivery of the framework. A big thank you to all of you.

However, we still need more help. KCA is a small organisation run by a small team of volunteers brought together by our one full time staff member and general all round superwoman, Mel Geue. The more volunteers that we have though, and the more they can contribute, the more we can deliver for you, our members. Whatever your level of experience, there is a role that you can play in helping to shape our community and build capacity here in Australia.  In helping your profession and your peers, you will also be helping yourself by helping to develop your career. It is no surprise that those who volunteer in professional bodies such as KCA are often those who advance their careers the fastest and furthest. You learn and develop by getting involved, so don’t just see it as time spent on something outside of your role, but it is something that is essential to develop you in your role. You will meet and work with other thought leaders in the commercialisation arena and play a role in developing the profession.

To find out more about how you could help KCA and help yourself develop professionally then contact either myself or Mel. We can help you work out how you can volunteer and provide the support to make it a success, whatever your level of experience. The right attitude is all you need, we can help with the rest.

Areas that might be of interest:

  • Course development
  • Course delivery
  • Annual Conference planning and organisation
  • KCA Exec (not just for CEOs/Directors)
  • Local events
  • Policy and advocacy

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Brisbane (and the start of the cricket season….)


Dr Alastair Hick
Director, Monash Innovation, Monash University
KCA Chair and Volunteer

Great science & great marketing make the perfect match

If you ask the question ‘What is marketing?’ you’ll receive a variety of answers and invariably one will be ‘getting someone to buy something that they don’t want or need’.

There are lots of definitions, but basically, ‘marketing’ is understanding your customer so well that you can satisfy their needs profitably. The words ‘marketing’ and ‘promotion’ are often incorrectly used interchangeably as promotion (i.e. advertising, selling, PR, advertising, social media) is only a small subset of marketing, much like chemistry is a small subset of science.
Good marketing relies heavily on solid ‘marketing intelligence’ to get the elements of marketing (product, price, place and promotion) right.  To be successful getting your product out there, you need it to have the relevant features and
benefits a customer requires, at a price point they are willing to pay, promoted to them in the most efficient way (based on customer preferences), and available in a place (whether online or instore) convenient to buy and/or acquire.

Principles which are all highly relevant to tech transfer practitioners.

selling techGetting great science out into the community requires careful marketplace analysis and applied marketing thought.  Among the many challenges faced by tech transfer practitioners is the fact that most of the time, the amazing research outcomes they are trying to sell are developed without early commercial consideration.

The “Know your market” session at the 2016 KCA Annual Conference will provide attendees with an overview of marketing fundamentals to help TT practitioner’s better market their office to their internal clients and marketing their technologies and services to external clients.  Natalie Chapman from gemaker will help you to better understand some of the key principles of marketing in tech transfer and Robin Knight from IN-PART will share what other offices are doing globally to raise the profile of what they are doing and market their technologies.  Head over to the KCA website for more details and to register now.

Latest data shows university/industry engagement happens in many ways, most of them bigger and more effective than commercialisation

KCA welcomes the publication of the National Survey of Research Commercialisation by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

The National Survey of Research Commercialisation (NSRC) has been collecting data relating to the sale of public sector intellectual property since 2000.  The data collected for 2014 can be used in conjunction with previous year’s data to paint a picture of some of the outcomes resulting from Australian research engaging with business and government both locally and internationally.

In terms of high level indications from the data, we note that:

  • Company creation has fallen significantly
  • Commercialisation activity remains stable and
  • Industry partnerships have grown significantly

The approach to company creation within universities has changed tangibly over the past few years, with less of a focus now on spin-out creation (where the university would have a licensing and equity interest in the company), and now more of a focus on supporting the surge in student startup activity.  These are considerably different activities for universities to be involved with, and are often carried out in different parts of the university.  We will work with the Department to explore how all startup activity is appropriately captured in future years.

Given the long lead/lag-time on IP commercialisation, which is often ten years or more, the recent outcomes we see for commercialisation tend to result from activity which occurred quite some time ago.  It is also important to note that the influence of Government policy and support programs takes a significantly long time to feed into the system, and current data reflects the end product of programs past.

On the other hand, company creation and research partnerships happen across a much shorter timescale (typically 1 to 3 years) and the data may be suggesting a trend that has been anecdotal until now.  That is, the sector has been moving over the past few years, from having a very strong focus on IP commercialisation and spin-out company creation, towards one of research partnerships with industry.

There are two particular data sets that we want to highlight:

  1. Income from commercialisation

Table 5.1.3: Income yielded from active LOAs (AU$ Million)*

2012 2013 2014
PFRAs 294 45 46
UNIs 36 74 61
MRIs 29 9 29
Totals 358 129 136


Table 5.1.3. shows that the university sector, as a whole, generated AU$61million of income from licences in 2014.

  1. Income from other engagement mechanisms

Table 5.5: Value of contracts, consultancies and collaborations (AU$ Million)*

2012 2013 2014
PFRAs 417 391 384
UNIs 951 1,168 1,352
MRIs 40 39 72
Total 1,408 1,598 1,808


Whereas when we look at table 5.5, we see that the university sector generated AU$1.3billion of combined income from consultancies, contract research and development and collaborations, which are activities which reflect research organisations working with industry.  Interestingly, this figure of income which relates to money earnt from industry for our research and consultancy is two orders of magnitude greater than commercialisation income – and it’s growing at a continuous rate.

The data therefore suggests that engagement mechanisms such as consultancies, contract research and collaborations appear to be much more accurate reflection of activity and engagement between business and research compared to the traditional measure of commercialisation of IP.

But is this a unique feature of the Australian system?  The answer is no.  Data from the UK analysing HEIF data on university/industry engagement shows the spread of activity across the range of engagement mechanisms:

Knowledge exchange mechanism % Revenue
Contract research 34
Collaborative research 23
CPD and continuing education 20
Consultancy 11
Regeneration and development programmes 5
Facilities and equipment services 4
Intellectual property (including sale of shares) 2

TOMAS COATES ULRICHSEN: Knowledge Exchange Performance and the Impact of HEIF in the English Higher Education Sector Report for HEFCE April 2014

This table surprises many, but not those of us in the Technology Transfer community.  We know that while IP commercialisation is very important, it is in fact a relatively small activity in terms of overall university revenue from industry.   Taking the data from the NSRC and considering our commercialisation income to be the last category and research contracts and consultancies to represent all of the others combined, the Australian data would suggest:

Knowledge exchange mechanism % Revenue
All other Engagement mechanisms 95.5
Intellectual property (including sale of shares) 4.5

It’s the same order of magnitude and, if we really wanted to, we could argue that we are twice as good as the UK at commercialising IP – but we aren’t going to do that.

What we will say though is that we need a broader view of university/industry engagement beyond a single OECD chart and beyond IP commercialisation income.  Let’s recognise that university/industry engagement happens in many ways, most of them bigger and more effective than commercialisation.  Let’s recognise them and reward them as these are the ways that our research actually gets translated into the economy to deliver benefits to the tax-payer who funded it.

Dr Kevin Cullen
KCA Vice-Chair, Metrics
CEO, UNSW Innovations

*These tables have been sourced from the data summary report produced by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science available here.