Top tips for writing academic research submissions for Discover

In 2021 IN-PART Discover managed to facilitate an average introduction rate of 14% (meaning of all the research submissions made to our campaigns, we managed to introduce 14% of them to our industry clients to begin collaboration plans) of all submissions made to our campaigns. We’re striving to improve on that in 2022, so that we can start more conversations between academics and our industry clients, in turn helping academics to secure more funding for their research. In this article we’ll cover best submission practices and other ways to increase your chances of engaging industry R&D decision-makers.

For a standard call for submissions, which we call an Industry Call for Opportunities (ICO), we accept submissions that fall under one of five categories, details of each one are below. It’s vital to tailor your submission to the right category. Our industry community has reported that Academic Expertise and Center of Excellence submissions often fall short because they do not explain how a collaboration would benefit both parties, and rather just lists recent projects and prizes awarded. We at IN-PART Discover believe that if academics correctly assign their research in order to best match client interests, we can increase the likelihood of you receiving an introduction.


Discover research submission categories


  • A technology can only be submitted with approval from your technology transfer or IP management office, a summary of the outcome of your research projects or prior work that is available for licensing.


  • A company spun out of the university using their IP or funding and is therefore still affiliated with the university. The submission can cover your company as a whole, a specific product offering, or an IP in your possession that would be beneficial to the client company.

Center of Excellence

  • A specialised department, lab group or research center dedicated to advancing the field relevant to the Discover campaign. This can summarise the work of several PIs and the groups, current or recently finished projects as well as any notable works.

Research Project

  • An active or recently finished research project covering the aims of the Discover campaign. A summary of prior relevant research leading to this project can also be helpful.

Academic Expertise

  • The summary of an Academic and their body of works, appropriate when your current work might not be immediately relevant but the past research has established them as an expert in the fields relevant to our Discover client. Also relevant as an alternative submission, where you’ve already made a submission in another category but would like to put your experience forward more generally.


IN-PART Blog - figure 1 - research submissions
Fig 1: Success rates for each submission type from campaigns launched and closed in 2021. Sample sizes are as follows; Expert – 423, Research Project – 857, Technology – 845, Spinout – 85, Centre of Excellence – 153.


Clients often leave feedback that it is sometimes difficult to conceive the benefit of an Academic Profile or Centre of Excellence summary that only includes previous work and accolades. It would be much more beneficial to give an overview of the current research interests and how these skills and interests could be applied to the current ICO.

This brings us to tailoring your research submissions to our ICO’s. We use very specific language whenever possible to communicate the company’s interests concisely, to establish what elements of the subject are not relevant to their plans, and what avenues they may have already explored.

As you can see from the below example ICO, there are examples of Astella Pharma’s areas of interest, and how advanced they would hope submissions to be developed (Stage of Development). However, we completely understand that this might not always be completely clear to every academic in every field, so if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to and our liaison team will be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have. 



IN-PART Blog - figure 2 - research submissions


Differences between Physical Science and Life Science research submissions:

Physical Science – Typically more focused on solving a specific problem, a good submission will propose a solution to the problem at hand, with any relevant past research backing up the proposed solution.

Life Science – Somewhat more open-ended, searching for relevant research in the topic area that works towards the general goal, with the exact specifications not being given. An example of this could be Johnson & Johnson Innovation looking for early stage validation studies in pharmacological strategies for kidney repair in situ. Similar to Physical Science campaigns, your submissions should be pointed to solving the problem outlined in the ICO with your submission and establishing how a collaboration between yourselves and the client would be beneficial.

Regardless of the campaign type, an important thing to remember is to include as many appropriate sources as possible. We have found that research submissions with 4+ sources have nearly 1.8x the success rate as submissions that only include 2 or less (figure 2 below)


IN-PART Blog - figure 3 - research submissions
Figure 2: Success rates according to the number of submitted sources included. Sample sizes are as follows: 1 Source – 1363, 2 Sources – 773, 3 Sources – 328, 4 Sources – 88, 5 Sources – 55)

Below is an example backbone of a strong submission you could use to influence how your submission may look:

research submissions template


Further important information for research submissions

  • What the opportunity is
  • Who the researchers are
  • Any background information specific to the opportunity
  • Technical information (e.g. a drug/therapy would need information on disease specificity, targeted mechanism/target name, drug modality/name, validation etc.)
  • Applications and benefits
  • What the opportunity is seeking/offering to the client
  • Any other important information



We hope the above best practices leave you feeling equipped to maximise your chances of converting your submission into a collaboration opportunity with one of our global industry clients. To summarise, we’ve included a checklist below of things to keep in mind when creating your submission.

  • Make sure to select the correct submission category
  • If you are trying to submit a spinout company or a technology owned by your institution, have you consulted with your Licensing Office or Technology Transfer Office
  • Have you given the submission an appropriate title?
  • Is the main bulk of the submission addressing specific needs outlined in the ICO?
  • Have you made sure to tailor your submission to either a physical science or life science structure?
  • Have you included all relevant sources?



Next Steps

Once you have finalised your submission, we will compile it into a report for the client, and then deliver it to them 2 weeks after the closing date. From then, our clients spend on average 6-8 weeks analysing this report and creating a list of the research submissions they would like to collaborate with, as well as any feedback as appropriate. This duration can vary based on the size of the client team involved with this campaign, the amount of capacity they can dedicate to analyse these results, and the amount of research submissions received. We endeavour to let you know the outcomes of your submission as soon as possible, for the most up to date status of your submission, please check your dashboard regularly.


Written by Callum Turner. Edited by Alex Stockham.

Copyrights reserved unless otherwise agreed – IN-PART Publishing Ltd., 2022: ‘Top tips for writing academic research submissions for Discover’

About IN-PART:

We believe brilliant connections can solve real-world problems. We match research pioneers from academia with decision-makers in industry sectors striving for a greater positive impact.

Our goal is to enable connections from around the world to match academic research with industry on a level playing field. Through our intelligent, matchmaking platform we showcase leading university innovations and connect academics with an international community of decision-makers in industry, creating meaningful dialogue and partnership.

Connect, 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 success fees.

Discover, a bespoke scouting platform for open innovation.

With the aim of solving a technical requirement or challenge, Discover enables R&D teams to identify new opportunities for commercialisation or to solicit proposals for new research from our extended academic network, which has confirmed touchpoints in 2,400+ universities and institutes worldwide.

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


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