Sustainable materials firm gains competitive advantage through new academic partners and unpublished research

A technology manager at a global speciality chemicals and sustainable materials firm based in the UK, who asked to remain anonymous for this case study, recently used Discover to gain a competitive advantage through new academic partners, via finding unpublished research observations.

The technology manager (TM) was tasked with finding new innovations and materials for catalysis and industrial chemistry to improve the sustainability of five chemical reactions in their company’s portfolio. Specifically, they wanted to find new technologies, early-stage research projects, spin‐out companies, and centres‐of‐excellence in universities and institutes that could help. Opportunities that aligned with their requirements were being scoped out for licensing, project funding, and research collaborations.

Working with the STEM experts in our Discover team, the TM at the speciality chemicals firm ran an Industry Call for Opportunities (ICO) campaign through our global academic network. An ICO, which differs from more traditional RFPs also run through Discover, is a campaign commissioned by companies, including Reckitt, Syngenta and Bayer, who are looking to engage academic research and expertise to address a specific requirement or challenge.

Speaking about the outcomes of their call, the TM told us that “Discover has allowed us to identify new research partners which we would not have otherwise considered. One of the more valuable parts of the process has been that the partners made reference to unpublished observations which matched our requirements, leading to in-depth conversations for early work under NDA.”

A total of 1,280 universities and research institutes from 69 countries were approached by our team about the TM’s Discover campaign. They received 36 submissions outlining unique opportunities from institutes including MIT, Princeton, Edinburgh, Oxford, Max-Planck and the University of Sao Paulo.

Summarising the outcomes of their call, the TM said that “we have made 11 contacts at universities and established 5 new conversations under NDA which we hope will lead to collaborative research agreements. We are hoping to match-fund at least some of these, leading to improved value for money.”

In terms of feeding these conversations into the company’s pipeline, “the next steps are setting up scope of work and negotiating research agreements. There is still a chance that talks may fail due to policies at the respective institutes, however, I hope that investigating the topics that we identified will allow us to drive technology from university towards commercialisation, resulting in more atom- and energy-efficient, and thus more sustainable, process technology.”

To learn how Discover is helping leading industry teams to extend their global reach and gain a competitive edge, send a message to our team who’ll reach out to set up a call. 

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Written by Charlie Appleby-Mallinder. Edited by Alex Stockham. 

Copyrights reserved unless otherwise agreed – IN-PART Publishing Ltd., 2021: ‘ Discover Case Study: Sustainable materials firm gains competitive advantage through new academic partners and unpublished research

About IN-PART’s Discover service:

Discover is a bespoke scouting service used by corporate R&D teams to proactively engage over 1,000 universities and research institutions with their search requirements.

IN-PART’s Discover service is used by companies looking to find innovation, expertise and solutions from academia, to either increase or enhance their current services and products, or to find practical solutions to their business and research challenges. So far, Discover has been used by R&D teams in companies across a variety of disciplines, from Murata Manufacturing and leading chemical and gas companies, to global leaders in the life sciences including Bayer, UCB Pharma, Takeda, GSK Consumer Healthcare, Boehringer Ingelheim, Almirall S.A., and Chiesi Pharmaceuticals.

Send a message to our Discover team to arrange an introduction.

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