What do R&D teams want from universities?

We recently hosted a live Q&A webinar (access the recording below) with a panel of three industry professionals working in R&D teams at the interface to academia to discuss their approaches to collaborations and what essentials are required for successful knowledge exchange and commercialisation.

The panellists:

  • Barclay Satterfield (External Innovation Technology Manager at Eastman Chemical Company)
  • Matthias Höss (Associate Director, Immunology Partnering at UCB Pharma)
  • Alisa Band (Senior Investment Manager at Henkel Tech Ventures, Chemicals and Materials)

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We received many questions from our audience covering a variety of topics. Below we’ve summarised the answers from our R&D panel into a few key take-home messages.

Ensure the technology summary is clear and findable

Our panellists commented that they value technology write-ups which are easy to find and clearly written. Ensuring all the information is present, in addition to basic financial positioning and a clear statement about any IP protection is important to help industry professionals assess technologies. Hosting the technology or spinout on a platform such as IN-PART increases visibility during scouting as they are frequently the first point of call.

Know the research and be honest about its weaknesses

Being able to answer questions and give details on the technologies in your institute’s portfolio will save valuable time. You don’t need to be an expert, but our panellists valued interactions where technology transfer professionals had an understanding of the market their technologies were part of and had researched the company prior to their conversation. They also value honesty when discussing technologies; if there is a weakness, they would prefer to be aware from the outset, especially as the company may have the strengths to counteract it.

COVID-19 has led to new research and opportunities to collaborate

The ongoing global pandemic presents an array of challenges, but our panellists shared some important positive points. Whilst the move to online conferences and meetings has reduced the chances of opportunistic conversations and collaborations, research has benefited in a variety of ways, including reduced travel costs, a lower carbon footprint and by having more time to look for prospective innovations from universities. In addition, discussions between international partners that have moved online frequently progress at a more rapid pace. We delved into some of the impacts of the COVID pandemic on TTOs in a recent update on our open call for research, ‘mobilising the university-industry community against COVID-19. Our panellists also noted that the pandemic is driving an increasing demand for the development of digital control technologies, for example, technologies that can run manufacturing or research remotely.

A company’s R&D strategy is not always set in stone

A final message from our panel was one of encouragement. A rejection to collaborate over a technology or piece of research does not mean that it is ‘bad’. There are many aspects R&D teams consider when searching for new technologies to commercialise, including a technology’s readiness level and where it sits competitively within a market. Equally, whilst an R&D division may appear to have a clearly defined strategy, this can be flexible, and if they see an innovative technology that sits to the edge of their focus, it may still be of interest.


If you’d like to watch the entire webinar and live Q&A, ‘What do R&D teams want from universities?’, fill in your details below and you’ll be taken to the recording.



About IN-PART:

To help get discoveries and breakthroughs out of the lab and onto the market, we’ve simplified the initial connection between academia and industry through two solutions:

IN-PART, a digital partnering platform for university-industry collaboration.

250+ universities and research institutes around the world currently showcase their research and innovation on IN-PART to find new collaboration partners in industry. R&D teams get free access to the platform (create an account here). There are no hidden costs and we don’t claim downstream fees.

Discover, a bespoke scouting service for open innovation.

Through Discover, corporate R&D teams can leverage our extended academic network, which reaches multiple teams across 1,200+ universities and research institutes worldwide. In response to a specific research requirement or challenge, Discover enables R&D teams to identify new opportunities for commercialisation or to solicit proposals for new research.

Interested in speaking with our Discover team? Request a demo |  TTO or academic? Sign-up for weekly Discover updates


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Copyrights reserved unless otherwise agreed, IN-PART Publishing Ltd., 2020

Blog: ‘What do R&D teams want from universities? (Webinar highlights)’

Image credit: Parker Gibbons / Unsplash (CC0)

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