Tagged: innovation

KCA Awards 2018 – Applications Now Open

The KCA Awards celebrate the achievements of members, and highlight “top tier work” in Australasian tech transfer. In 2018 we once again have one open category, and invite members to put forth any activity that has realised success in the last 18 months.

The Awards are open to all KCA members and their respective project partners. Projects can span all facets of research commercialisation, industry engagement and entrepreneurship. The Awards aren’t about “big deals.” The Awards recognise great work, so please be encouraged to put forth projects which demonstrate originality, creative business insight, and/or deliver significant societal impact.

Deadline 19 July 2018. Click here to apply.

2016 TT Sector Wrap Up

2016 has been a big year for technology transfer offices in Australia. As we all know, commercialising research is a tough gig and some deals are many years in the making.  The beginning of a new tradition, KCA has compiled a highlights list from offices around the country to celebrate the achievements of the membership across the year just gone.  You may have heard of some of these achievements throughout the year, but its always nice to look at these things in summary, and consider at what has been accomplished as a group.  Below are some top 3 highlights from offices within the KCA community who were able to participate in the exercise this year.

ANSTO

  • Successful technology transfer and scale up of the ANSTO Minerals Sileach™ process with Lithium Australia.  More info here.
  • ANSTO in partnership with Minomic have successfully developed the MILGa drug for SPECT diagnosis of certain cancers. Minomic is mid-way through a Phase 1 clinical trial.  Story here.
  • ANSTO Health obtained a license from the TGA for production of Lutetium 177, an emerging therapeutic isotope for a range of cancers.  Story here.

CSIRO

  • Launch and expansion of the ON Accelerator to all Public Sector Research Organisations and Universities funded through NISA.  More info here.
  • The announcement of the $200 million CSIRO Innovation Fund to be operational in 2017 and also available to all Public Sector Research Organisations and Universities. More info here.
  • 5 spin outs/equity deals in calendar 2016 and $60m in IP (royalty and licensing) revenue in 2015/16 FY (Chryos, Cardihab, MetaBloQ, Smart Battery)

Curtin

  • West Tech Fest, which incorporates the OzAPP Awards judging, a Startup Village, pitching opportunities, an angel investor dinner, student tech fest, technology startup events and an industry conference.
  • Curtin spinout ePAT technologies listed on the ASX completing a $4.7 million capital raise.
  • Curtin completed a deal with Australian mining services company, Gekko Systems to commercialise a breakthrough gold processing monitoring technology.  Story here.

DST Group

  • HPRNet – DST Group in partnership with the Australian Army has established new model for establishing research networks(Rnet) of Australian Universities to undertake research in areas of interest to Defence .  The first such RNet is a joint initiative of DST Group and the Australian Army which has brought together 7 Australian universities to work in the area of the advancement of human performance . Next year will see this model being used in other technology areas.
  • External Engagement Manager program – 12 month professional development and immersive program whereby  DST researchers are appointed as their respective Research Division’s External engagement manager. As a result of the program researchers have not only increased their business acumen and commercial skills but 60% of the researchers have gained promotions back inside their research areas.
  • CERA business model – Devised the business model whereby the Defence Science Institute (DSI) released a pilot Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (CERA) program, which sought research proposals from Australian universities relating to projects of Defence strategic importance. In a highly competitive field DSI made award grants of up to $50k each to seed collaborations. The strongest applicants were able to collaborate and engage with Australian industry and International partners. Given the success of the pilot program DST Group has requested the program be continued in the coming financial year.

Griffith

  • Griffith University and agricultural product company Agnova Technologies collaborated to produce Fruition, the nation’s first non-toxic commercial response to fruit flies.  Story here.
  • Student enterprise (student entrepreneurial education is a key growth area for Griffith.  Story here.
  • Olymvax invests in Griffith vaccine for Strep A.  Story here.

LaTrobe

  • La Trobe establishes the new Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Industry Engagement). Story here.
  • Unlocking regional Victoria’s big ideas – LaunchVic funded Regional Accelerator Program.  Story here.
  • Optus and La Trobe tech-collaboration to deliver an integrated, digitally connected campus; a state-of-the-art Sports Precinct of the Future; and creation of a market leading Cyber Security tertiary degree.  Story here.

Macquarie

  • Macquarie University has had one or more team(s) in every CSIRO ON program that were eligible to Universities; Modular Photonics in ACCELERATE 2, LuciGem, FAIMS and Diamond Lasers in PRIME and LuciGem in ACCELERATE 3.
  • 2016 has seen over a double increase in Innovation Disclosures since 2015 (57 as of 08 Dec 2016)
  • We arranged a educational and fun team bonding session with the Research Office, Office of Commercialisation and Innovation and Corporate Engagement by holding a 1 day negotiation training workshop.

Monash

  • BioCurate is an $80M collaboration between Monash and the University of Melbourne established to transform our ability to translate our world class biomedical research into new therapeutic products.  Story here.
  • Monash University spinout Amaero Engineering entered into a major production deal with French based multinational company Safran to produce 3D printed parts for Safran. Story here and here.
  • Monash and Hudson Institute of Medical Research entered into a major commercialisation and co-development deal to develop next generation immunology therapeutics. Story here.

UniQuest

  • A €15 million (A$22 million) Series A investment (one of the largest biotech Series A investments for intellectual property originating from an Australian university) in Inflazome Ltd, a company founded on research from UQ and Trinity College Dublin, developing treatments for inflammatory diseases.  Story here.
  • UniQuest’s Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative (QEDDI) became a fully-equipped and operational drug discovery and development capability, with facilities and staff based at UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience.
  • UQ spinout company Protagonist Therapeutics Inc. listed on the NASDAQ stock market, raising US$90 million (A$118 million) in its initial public offering, (story here), while ResApp is developing a smartphone medical application for the diagnosis and management of respiratory disease, and has raised more than A$16 million since listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2015 (story here).

UniSA Ventures

  • UniSA’s Venture Catalyst program voted Australia’s Best Entrepreneurial Support Initiative in the KCA Awards.  Story here.
  • UniSA signed a MoU with one of China’s leading drug development and pharmaceuticals manufacturers, to support the development of new drugs, and treatments in stem cell biology and drug reformulation technology.  Story here.
  • UniSA  launched a new strategic plan for research and innovation to fast-track the development of high potential innovations through UniSA Ventures.  Story here.

UNSW Innovations

  • China Cable deal worth $20m that was KCA deal of the year.  Story here.
  • Quantum Computing deal which saw $25m of Commonwealth funding through NISA, and $10m each from CBA and Telstra to develop a prototype circuit.  Story here.
  • Torch Innovation Precinct announcement that the first Torch Science Park outside China would be set-up at UNSW.  More info here.

UWA

  • A new drug for the treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) originally developed at The University of Western Australia has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.  Story here.
  • The first ever Western Australian Innovation Strategy was launched by the Minister for Innovation, the Hon Bill Marmion, on 2 November 2016.  Story here.
  • An increase in support activity for entrepreneurship and innovation in Perth, i.e. CERI is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that has been set up to work closely with local researchers to assist them in developing entrepreneurial skills and to then take them through the Innovation Process, with the goal of assisting them to establish a startup company.

Victoria

  • Researchers at Victoria University have joined forces with Phillip Island Nature Parks to develop a ‘wand’ that harvests oil absorbing  magnetic particles in order to save the lives of penguins and other birds contaminated after an oil spill event.  Story here.
  • A patent and trademark technology licence to a company in Japan to commercialise innovative insole technology develop at ISEAL (Institute of Sport, Exercise & Active Living) research institute as well as leveraging our reputation and famous associated brand. The insoles have major biomechanical advantages over the existing products in the market. Deals are currently being negotiated with major insole and shoe manufacturers and distributors in Asia and beyond to bring this inventive product to market.
  • A patent technology licence to an Australian company to exploit membrane distillation technology. The technology has energy and practical advantages that the company has secured investment and is building a pilot plant to scale up the technology. The company already has end market customers interested in using the technology in a broad range of industrial applications.

World-first career framework for Technology Transfer Professionals published

Strategic thinking, business and commercial acumen plus the ability to communicate and influence are some of the identified skills required by Technology Transfer Professionals (TTPs) to effectively take research to market says the World’s first TTP Capability Framework published today.

Entitled Knowledge Transfer in Australia: Is there a route to professionalism?  the new Framework is the result of intensive research where 103 TTPs, 31 stakeholders and 64 Australasian organisations were interviewed and surveyed.

To date TTPs have lacked clear and identifiable career paths.  While commercialising publicly funded research is relatively new, the drive from external stakeholders such as Government and business to “do better” has escalated the need to better define the practice, and outline what is required to effectively put research to use in both an ethical and competent manner.

Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) therefore commissioned the development of a world-first career Capability Framework that defines the skills, knowledge, behaviours and values required by a team taking research to market, and outline career paths for those working in the role at different levels.

The KCA framework describes up to 200 desired capabilities for TTPs, divided into seven clusters and sixteen sub-clusters, and classified by development stages: early-career, mid-career and senior level.

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Study participants perceived the skills of Australasian TTPs to be strong in the area of intellectual property advice and knowledge transfer, plus the qualifications and experience of those in the industry is well respected. The skills requiring the most development are in the areas of business acumen, communications and influence, legal compliance and advice, marketing and relationships, social media, and strategy and results.

KCA Chair and Director of Monash Innovation at Monash University, Dr Alastair Hick said with increased demand and interest in improving the transfer of research to market, the KCA Framework comes at the right time. It will fit well with the range of initiatives in the National Science and Innovation Agenda as we move to ensure Australian research has the best chance to have impact for the Australian economy and society more broadly.

“To date there has been a lot of discussion about Australia’s record of translating research success into commercial uptake and jobs creation, with much of it focussing on the researcher. However, technology transfer professionals play a vital role in commercialising research out of research organisations so ensuring they have the right skills and development are crucial to this commercial success. The framework is helping us to benchmark our performance and skills and see where KCA can provide additional training opportunities for our members” said Dr Alastair Hick, KCA Chair and Director of Monash Innovation, at Monash University.

In March 2015, the Professional Standards Council awarded a $98,000 grant to KCA to develop the framework for the professional competency standards of the technology transfer sector.

“No one else in the world has achieved anything like the KCA framework, which focuses on the skills technology transfer professionals need, rather than just job titles or roles. Our international counterparts have said they are keen to receive the framework as they will find it valuable for their professional development pathways,” said Dr Hick.

‘The Capability Framework we have developed provides benchmarks for technology transfer professionals (TTPs), against which the performance of individuals and teams can be measured.

“A digest of the Framework will be provided to KCA Members as a toolkit to improve recruitment practices, select targeted professional development, communicate their capabilities to stakeholders, and enable informed self-assessment and career planning.

“Researchers and industry stakeholders can also use the Framework to improve their understanding of the role of TTPs, thereby promoting more transparent, accountable and productive partnerships,” said Dr Hick.

Recommendations for KCA and similar organisations include the development of a Code of Ethics for the TTP sector; focused education programs to address the identified skills gaps; secondment and mentoring programs involving Technology Transfer Offices and industry stakeholders and a formal processes for stakeholder feedback on the performance of TTPs.

“We are delighted to see this report, as it tackles the issue of advancing knowledge exchange and commercialisation by providing insights to build Australian industry,” said Dr Deen Sanders, Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Standards Council.

“It also shows that this sector is taking a serious and strategic approach to raising standards and becoming a profession.”

KCA is having discussions with the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals (ATTP), the global alliance of professional technology transfer associations, to see how it might be applied internationally in order to recognise excellence.

The project team comprised of technology commercialisation consultancy gemaker (associate members of KCA), Dr Hick and KCA Executive Officer, Melissa Geue with gemaker Co-founder Athena Prib leading the team.

About Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA)

KCA is the peak body leading best practice in industry engagement, commercialisation and entrepreneurship for research organisations. We achieve this through expert delivery of stakeholder connections, professional development and advocacy.

About gemaker

gemaker works with Australia’s smartest people connecting them to expertise, customers and funders as needed across the full innovation process of taking new ideas to market. A team of technical and commercial specialists commercialising new technologies, products and services for research organisations, SMEs and start-ups in the advanced manufacturing, education, environmental, ICT, medical, mining, new materials and nuclear sectors. gemaker is an associate member of KCA.

About Professional Standards Councils (PSCs)

PSCs work to improve professional standards and protect consumers of professional services across Australia. Professional Standards Councils are independent statutory bodies established in each state and territory. They have specific responsibilities under professional standards legislation for assessing and approving applications for, and supervising the application of, Professional Standards Schemes. PSCs and their agents work together in a partnership approach to regulation that both enhances Australia’s consumer protection regime and promotes the vital role professions play in our economy.

Media Contact: Sharon Kelly (gemaker), E: sharon@gemaker.com.au M: +61 414 780 077

Celebrating Australian Success – Translating Knowledge & Research into Business

Release date: Friday, 2 September 2016

UNSW, Curtin University and UniSA are research commercialisation winners

The University of New South Wales (UNSW), Curtin University (WA) and the University of South Australia (UniSA) were winners at the Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) Research Commercialisation Awards, announced last night at its annual conference dinner in Brisbane.

Success lay with UNSW which won Best Commercial Deal for securing $20 million capital investment from Zhejian Handian Graphene Tech; Curtin University for the Best Creative Engagement Strategy with The Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre; and UniSA won Best Entrepreneurial Initiative and the People’s Choice Award for its Venture Catalyst which supports student led start-ups.

KCA Chair and Director of Monash innovation at Monash University, Dr Alastair Hick, said it was important that commercialising research successes are celebrated and made public.

KCA member organisations work incredibly hard at developing new ways to get technology and innovation out into industry being developed into the products and services of tomorrow. These awards recognise that hard work and also that we must develop new ways of improving the interface between public sector research and industry. I am also excited that KCA members are playing an increasing role in helping the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. It is essential that we help develop their entrepreneurial skills and give them the opportunities in an environment where they can learn from skilled and experienced mentors,” said KCA Chair, Dr Alastair Hick

Details of the projects are as follows:

Best Commercial Deal

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(Dr Hua Fan, UNSW Innovations (left) and Dr Alastair Hick, KCA (right))

Zhejian Hangdian Graphene Tech Co (ZHGT) – University of New South Wales (UNSW)

This is an initiative to fund and conduct research on cutting-edge higher efficiency voltage power cables, known as graphene, and on super-capacitors. With $20M capital investment by the Chinese corporation Hangzhou Cable Co., Ltd (HCCL), and UNSW contributing intellectual property as a 20% partner, the objectives are to execute the deal through research and development; manufacturing of research outcomes in Hangzhou; and finally commercialisation.

Best Creative Engagement Strategy

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(Mr Rohan McDougall, Curtin University (left), Dr Alastair Hick, KCA (right))

Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre – Curtin University
The Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre, co-founded by Cisco, Curtin University and Woodside Energy Ltd, is a new industry and research collaboration centre designed to foster co-innovation. With a foundation in radioastronomy, supercomputing and software expertise, it is growing a state-of-the-art connected community focused on leveraging data analytics, cybersecurity and digital transformation network platforms to solve industry problems. The Centre combines start-ups, small–medium enterprises, industry experts, developers and researchers in a collaborative open environment to encourage experimentation, innovation and development through brainstorming, workshops, proof-of-concept and rapid prototyping. By accelerating innovation in next-generation technologies, it aims to help Australian businesses thrive in this age of digital disruption.

Best Entrepreneurial Initiative & People’s Choice

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(Ms Jasmine Vreugdenburg, UniSA (left) and Dr Alastair Hick, KCA (right))

Venture Catalyst Program – UniSA
Venture Catalyst supports student led start-ups by providing up to $50k to the new enterprise as a grant. The scheme targets current and recent graduates who have a high tolerance for risk and an idea for a new business venture that is both novel and scalable. The scheme takes an ‘IP and equity free’ approach and encourages students to collaborate with different disciplines and externals to encourage a diverse skill set for the benefit of the new venture. Venture Catalyst is a collaboration between the UniSA and the South Australian Government, and is supported through UniSA Ventures as well as representatives from industry and experienced entrepreneurs.

This year’s awards are judged by commercial leaders of innovation: Erol Harvey, CEO, MiniFab, Dan Grant, PVC Industry Engagement, LaTrobe University and Anna Rooke, CEO, QUT Creative Enterprise Australia.

Media Contact: Sharon Kelly (gemaker), E: s.kelly@gemaker.com.au M: +61 414 780 077

Academics do want to engage with business, but need more support

The Conversation
Drew Evans, University of South Australia and Carolin Plewa, University of Adelaide

Universities today are under more pressure than ever to collaborate with industry.

In the words of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull:

Increasing collaboration between businesses, universities and the research sector is absolutely critical for our businesses to remain competitive.

Australia has a poor report card when it comes to university-business collaboration. It ranks last among the OECD countries when comparing the proportion of businesses working with universities.

But this is not all. Australia ranks only 72nd in the world on the Innovation Efficiency Ratio, a measure comparing innovation inputs to outputs. And we have one of the lowest number of scientific publications co-authored by industry in the OECD.

There is a clear impetus for change. A change towards more academic collaboration with industry.

Why are there such low levels of collaboration?

A popular belief is that researchers are focused on publishing their work in academic journals, and not interested in collaboration with industry.

At a press conference on science and innovation, Turnbull said:

… the primary motivator has been to publish and make sure your publications are cited in lots of other publications, hence the term “publish or perish”.

Publications are, and will continue to be, critical for the advancement of knowledge and for the reputation of academics and universities alike. But does that mean academics aren’t interested in working with business?

Recently the South Australian Science Council undertook a benchmarking survey to test this assumption.

The academic engagement with end users survey was designed to capture the perceptions and attitudes of academics when it comes to engaging with business, government or non-profit organisations.

The survey (which has not been published publicly due to confidentiality reasons) sampled 20% of the total academic employees across three universities in South Australia. The sample size of 852 academics is large enough to tell us something about the Australian, not just South Australian, academic.

The findings found that the most academics (nine out of ten) were motivated to engage with business to help translate their research into practice. And 86% were motivated to engage in order to have an impact on society.

Academics not motivated by money

It is not money that makes a difference. Only 25% indicated that the opportunity to increase their personal income motivated them to engage.

We often think that there are just too many barriers to engagement. These barriers range from difficulty in agreeing on Intellectual Property (IP), to mismatches in culture, to a lack of personal contacts with industry, and so on.

But are these barriers really inhibiting engagement?

Few academics in the survey agreed. Only 15% of respondents agreed that their research was too far removed from the end users. 16% agreed that end user engagement doesn’t help achieve their career goals.

Just under one third of respondents agreed that engaging with end users is difficult, that they don’t have relevant skills, or personal contacts or that it would detract them from undertaking other research.

Building stronger relationship between academics and industry

A simple focus on financial incentives alone won’t make a difference.

In the eyes of the academics responding to the survey, they need: Time, support and an environment encouraging of engagement.

Time to dedicate to the networking and relationship building that will lead to successful collaboration. It is relationships, not just single transactions, that breed success. These relationships are integral to research and teaching; integral to the university’s role in society. Yet building relationships takes time.

Support mechanisms are significant enablers. While important for all, they are crucial for newcomers. 80% of the respondents who had not previously engaged with business desire it.

The support comprises staff dedicated to assist in finding end-users, help define applications, facilitate networking and conduct project management. By supporting academics behind the scenes, they enable them to focus on what they are good at – working with their business partners on achieving the desired outcomes.

An environment perceived as encouraging engagement stimulates further engagement. The survey shows that only 29% of respondents who have not worked with business view their local research group as encouraging engagement, compared to 77% of those who have engaged extensively. An encouraging team atmosphere, support from peers and support networks can all help facilitate an engagement friendly culture.

The research suggests that we need to shift our thinking on this topic, away from extrinsic motivators such as money, and towards a focus on what intrinsically motivates academics to engage, such as impact.

The conversation must move away from “overcoming barriers”, which in the eyes of most academics don’t actually exist. We are wasting time dreaming up solutions to problems that don’t exist.

‘It takes three to tango’

Not every academic will engage closely with industry, nor do we want every academic to engage. We need to establish the ecosystem in which engagement is easy and rewarding.

As former Chief Scientist Ian Chubb recently put it: “It takes three to tango”.

Not all academics will want to tango with business; tango is close, intense and full of twists and turns. Yet many want to line dance, foxtrot, or quickstep. They want to engage in different ways.

The Australian government needs to consider the policy framework that enables academics to engage in a way that is best for them and their partners through the provision of time, support, encouragement and recognition.

Drew Evans, Associate Professor of Energy & Advanced Manufacturing, University of South Australia and Carolin Plewa, Associate Professor in Marketing, University of Adelaide

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Are you adapting your marketing pitch for each business that you engage with?

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With the FY16 year-end now behind us, it is time to take stock of our achievements, collect metrics and prepare reports for our stakeholders on our performance over the previous 12 months. My employer, being a government owned entity is no exception and has to ensure it meets the expectation of the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. Supporting actions arising from the “Boosting the Commercial Returns from Research” agenda, these expectations have considerable focus on the utilisation of science to increase the competitiveness of Australian industry.

This forced reflection has made me analyse how I engage with industry and how I alter my approach based upon industry vertical, company size and my understanding of that company’s culture.  This may seem completely obvious, but we often fail to consciously make these differentiations and recognise that not all companies are created equal. For example the interaction and value proposition I present to a biotech startup is completely different to an engagement I will make with big pharma. Conversely, the business challenges of a startup are completely different to those of large pharma.

With this exact thought in mind, I am really looking forward to attending the KCA Annual Conference, and more specifically the session aptly titled “Not all Companies are Created Equal.” At this session we will hear from companies of different sizes and industries about how they innovate to overcome their business and technical challenges. It is shaping up to be really insightful.

This year the KCA Annual Conference will be held in sunny Brisbane at the Victoria Park Golf Club on 1-2nd September 2016. The conference theme is “Innovation is a state of mind,” and will focus on shaping thinking around commercialisation, entrepreneurship and industry engagement. Registration closes on the 17th August. I hope to see you there.

Dr Tim Boyle, RTTP
Leader, Business Development, ANSTO
KCA Volunteer

We’re walking in sunshine!  #KCA2016 is your ticket to get the ins and outs as to what the NISA means for TT practitioners here in Australia

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There has never been a more exciting time to be in technology transfer.  There is no doubt that the Turnbull Government’s championing of innovation through the Ideas Boom has thrust technology transfer into the sunlight; where previously it soldiered on unseen in the shadows.  The Ideas Boom is templated as the National Science and Innovation Agenda (NISA) and what a policy it is.  The NISA encompassing a range of innovations that stimulate our sector to encourage engagement between academia and industry.  It galls us to travel the well-worn wheel rut that we as a Nation we occupy the bottom rung of the OECD ladder for industry-research engagement.  The NISA aims to move us up that ladder with a range of initiatives which includes incentives for researchers and publicly-funded research institutions to work more actively with industry; provide access to capital for start-ups and incentives entrepreneurs to create start-ups.  The talk of the town is start-ups.

For our researchers, the NISA provides a fundamental intervention aimed to changing the culture of academia such that universities will receive competitive funding based on their actual engagement with industry as measured by impact and levels of industry funding as opposed to the traditional metric of peer-reviewed publications and grant income.

This matters to publicly-funded research institutions including our universities, our researchers and our technology transfer professionals.  We will all have to stretch and cover the industry engagement drive and balance our existing roles.  Positive change is good.

It cannot be stressed enough just how significant this holistic intervention is.  Superimpose the Medical Research Future Fund across the top of the biomedical landscape in Australia and we have a sector on the boil for access to capital.   Do all these measures mean that the translation of research outcomes to productivity gain for our industry sector can be realised now?

The opening session of the KCA Annual Conference puts the NISA on to the dissection bench as we tease out the pros and cons of this policy that will result in a dramatic change in the technology transfer landscape.  Come along and join your peers on September 1 to discuss how the changes affect you.  Revel in the sunshine and Register now.

Dr Dean Moss
Vice-Chair, KCA
CEO, UniQuest

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.

KCA takes 5 with TT young gun to talk #KCA2016

GiuliaGThe countdown is on to the Innovation is a State of Mind themed 2016 KCA Annual Conference.  KCA sat down with technology transfer young gun Giulia Gizzi from LaTrobe University to hear why she plans to attend the 1-2 September event being held in Brisbane.

KCA: How many years have you been involved in the commercialisation profession?

GG: 1.5 years

KCA: What is your current role?

GG: Commercialisation Administration Officer at La Trobe University

KCA: How many tech transfer conferences have you attended previously?

GG: Just one, KCA Annual Conference 2015

KCA: What is your reason for attending this year’s KCA Annual Conference?

GG: The Annual Conference is the best place to network and meet your colleagues who work in the commercialisation space, but also allows you to learn from their experiences. Being such a fresh face to the industry, it’s interesting to hear about the various tech transfer stories, both successful and sometimes disastrous, and learning the lessons from those who have worked through these cases. The conference enables an early career professional to learn through its sessions, but it can also be done by speaking with attendees who you may not normally interact with during your day-to-day work.

KCA: What session are you most looking forward to on this year’s program?

GG: I am really keen to hear the views presented in the first session: ‘Welcome to the Ideas BOOM: What the National Innovation Statement means for tech transfer in Australia’. NISA has had a huge impact on our sector, particularly emphasising that the Government is interested and willing to invest within our industry and across the broader innovation system. At the time of the conference, some items of the Agenda will have come into play, and also the political environment may have changed, so it will be quite interesting to hear from key members of our industry and the impact of NISA from various point of views.

KCA: Thanks for your time today Giulia.  See you in September!

To keep in touch with Giulia, follow her @giulia_gizzi on Twitter.

Check back in a few weeks time when we speak with some of mid-career members to learn more about why they plan to come along to the 2016 KCA Annual Conference.  Check out the full conference program on the KCA website.

 

The KCA Annual Conference
The Ideas Boom is upon us and all technology commercialisation professionals need to be across what this means for our sector. The Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) Conference in Brisbane 1-2 Sept is the place to go to learn more about the latest trends, insights and best practice shaping innovation and commercialisation during this time. Come along to expand your network of technology commercialisation professionals from research organisations across Australia and New Zealand, and hear from an array of exciting presenters and panels talk to this theme.

 

Google gives student startups a boost at the KCA Accelerator Demo Day

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The nation’s best recent graduates of university accelerator programs came together last Tuesday in Sydney to pitch to an audience of over 100 drawn from Australia’s innovation community at the inaugural KCA Accelerator Demo Day.

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In true Dragon’s Den style, teams pitched their businesses to industry experts and got money-can’t buy time in front of key opinion leaders from the likes of Blue Chilli, Blackbird Ventures, StartupAus and Google.

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Teaching high-impact entrepreneurship and immersing university students in a diverse range of hands on business training has become a high priority for Australian research organisations in recent times.  Many now run their own accelerator and incubation programs, all aimed at supporting students, staff and alumni to commercialise ideas, access seed funding and learn how to grow and scale their businesses.

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Student entrepreneurship is a major national focus right now.  As our nation transmissions away from the resources boom towards an ideas boom, our research organisations are stepping up to educate and mentor students along the entrepreneurship pathway and encourage staff to think about commercial application of their work.

Many organisations running accelerator programs are looking for new ways to get their participants in front of active investors, customers and partners. In collaboration with Google, we have accumulated the best from accelerator programs across Australia to promote interaction and exposure for new businesses” said Rohan McDougall, Director IP Commercialisation, Curtin University.

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Entrepreneurship across universities and research institutions should be encouraged to thrive and be an option for every student to consider as they commence their studies.  We’re pleased to have been able to host the first National Demo Day and can’t wait to see what teams achieve going forwards” said Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community & Outreach Manager, Google.

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The eight businesses pitched spanned a variety of different sectors, and ranged from early-stage right through to revenue generating.

A summary of the businesses and accelerators that participated are as follows:

Chatterbox is an education technology startup developing a specialised online learning platform for students and teachers of debating and public speaking.  Chatterbox went through the University of New South Wales’ FounderLab program, a program that enables startups in need of software development to receive professional software engineer services whilst they continue their search for a permanent technical co-founder.

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Me3D was founded with the specific purpose to create the world’s best 3D printing educational package.  Me3D manufactures its own hardware through a partnership with Greenacres Industries, and provides essential training and consulting services.  Me3D was part of the University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate business incubator which aids startups and new businesses via two streams: Start and Advanced.

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Hypetap is a platform which connects agencies, brands and influencers to work on marketing campaigns together.  Hypetap was part of the University of Melbourne’s five-month Startup Accelerator program known as MAP.  MAP provides teams AUD20,000 in funding (no equity taken), and are provided structured mentoring, free office space and pitching opportunities in Sydney, Melbourne and Silicon Valley

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Storekat is an aggregation service for Self-Storage providers that functions as a peer to peer platform, with a purpose to expand their online presence in the marketplace.  Storekat was part of Curtin University’s Curtin Accelerate program, a ten week program which assists teams to bring  ideas and businesses closer to commercialisation.

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Vald Performance is a sports technology startup commercialising an innovative hamstring testing system. The Nordbord is the fastest, easiest and most powerful way to train, screen and monitor hamstring strength.  Vald Performance has been through the bluebox Accelerator which enables high potential startup teams from the QUT ecosystem to develop a business model, minimum viable product and investment grade pitch.

Anonalytix is a cloud based technology that offers a new approach to data anonymisation by producing synthetic data sets which cannot be re-identified. Anonalytix is part of the CSIRO ON program, which fast-tracks Australian science and technology innovation for real world outcomes. Open to all Australian universities and PFRAs, ON is supporting helping Australia’s best researchers and their partners translate great science and technology into commercial ventures.

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Miriad Technologies have developed the “Miriad Spectrometer,” a device to identify the existence and concentration of chemicals in different mediums such as food and the general environment.  Miriad Technologies was part of the University of Sydney’s INCUBATE startup development program, which is open to students and alumni and focuses on technologically innovative companies.

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Certified Renewable certifies businesses that use 100% renewable energy.  Certified Renewable has been a part of InnovationACT, The Australian National University entrepreneurship program for students, staff and alumni of Canberra’s major tertiary institutions. Teams are mentored by local entrepreneurs, participate in workshops and seminars, and the top teams pitch for a share of the $50,000 seed pool.

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KCA and Google are working together to do this all again in 2017.  Keep checking back for future dates.

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