Move Your Ideas From Lab To Market To Maximize Impact

American scientists and inventors have many advantages, including a robust system for commercializing research. The U.S. Constitution of 1787 included a clause that allowed for the creation and operation of a patent office. This was so inventors could manage their intellectual property and collaborate with the private sectors to create unique products and services. This fantastic system was able to produce effective vaccines for Covid-19 within a short period of one year.

Technology transfer allows scientists to make their research commercially viable. Scientists are often located at universities, research hospitals, or private laboratories. They conduct scientific research. They publish their research findings in prestigious journals. This grants them more funding, which allows them to keep going. Some scientists will see the possibility of a new product or service based on their life’s work. If you’re such a scientist, it’s essential to contact your institution’s technology transfer office or venture management department – even if the product is not clear.

It takes time to commercialize a product. Scientists should still publish their research results. However, they should also seek out their technology transfer offices to apply for patents. They should understand the regulatory approval process and proceed in specific sectors, such as medicine, energy, and agriculture. From Cornell University’s Wharton School, David Hsu and Matt Marx, from Cornell University, found that about 74% were granted patents. These patents also included featured articles in academic journals. William Shaw, senior director for Technology Transfer and Industry Collaboration at Tufts University, said that the university’s mission is “to bring together all stakeholders necessary to see an invention leave the laboratory and reach the marketplace.” The best chances of success in reaching the market are achieved when the right team is assembled.

Scientists are then faced with two options for getting their products to the market. The technology transfer office can help them decide whether to license their research innovations and then hope for the very best. The result may save the planet in some cases, like the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine developed from Vanderbilt University’s research. Sometimes, however, companies will license an innovation and not develop it into a product. While there are business reasons for this, it can also leave scientists and academic institutions frustrated.

Researchers interested in entrepreneurship can use the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer(STTR) programs of U.S. Government to get early-stage funding to help them move their research from the laboratory to market. Scientists will find entrepreneurship accelerators at their institution or in the city they live in. They can learn about business and entrepreneurship and also develop vital operational milestones. Two stages are required for scientists to validate an idea. First, science must be valid. This often takes a long time. Publication in journals and patents are the measures of scientific idea validity. Business validation will be measured in the scientist’s ability to secure private investors and corporate partnerships. It’s not measured by customer response, sales, or other metrics. The research might not reach the market for years.

Bentley College research shows that 356 new cancer drugs have been approved since 2010, proving the importance of academic research scientists. All of these new drugs were developed with NIH grants to academic scientists.

A parallel system is available for idea validation for non-academic inventors. Invent Helps offers legal services to inventors who want to set up companies or file patent applications. Over 3,000 entrepreneurship programs are available across America for inventors and entrepreneurs. These include university-based entrepreneurship programs, startup accelerators like Y Combinator, MassChallenge, regional business development initiatives like Jumpstart Ohio, and local SCORE or Small Business Development Centers that support local business owners. These programs can be invaluable for new entrepreneurs starting their businesses without support from a major university or hospital. You can also use the accelerator programs to validate your idea with proof of concept strategies and outreach to potential customers. This will help you secure meetings with potential investors, funders, and corporate partners.

The United States has the best system for idea validation and monetization, but the rest are catching up. International research institutions are setting up tech transfer operations. Additionally, there are more than 1000 startup accelerators in other countries that can help launch high-growth companies. It’s a thrilling time to bring your idea to life!

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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