Our Research Commercialisation Open Programme debuts

by Alex Smeets

and Brian Corbett

In September, Cambridge Enterprise ran its first ever Research Commercialisation Open Programme. This new initiative was inspired by our experience helping universities from around the world to learn about commercialising outcomes of their scientific research work. Over the past six years, we have developed and run programmes for universities in places as far-flung as Colombia, Poland and Kazakhstan.

The Research Commercialisation Open Programme is the logical next step, bringing together technology transfer professionals from all over the world. They convened here in Cambridge to learn about licensing, spinning out new ventures and the delivery of consultancy by University of Cambridge academics.

To enable intensive engagement and interaction, we kept the group small but also diverse. The 14 delegates hailed from Austria, Chile, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ghana, Lebanon, Spain and Turkey. Through presentations, discussions and exercises, we explored commercialisation processes—both in general terms and “how we do it in Cambridge”—and tackled a range of specific issues that practitioners had faced at home.

To make the programme truly a “Cambridge experience”, the delegates were housed in University Colleges, enjoyed a traditional formal dinner in College and went punting along the Backs.

“The course was very professionally run and the open environment allowed for in-depth group discussions to flow” said Tom Withnell, Technology Transfer Manager at the University of Vienna. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to research commercialisation, but the course provided a detailed insight into how the Cambridge ecosystem has evolved and how to create building blocks for handling new situations.”

Others offered similar comments as well as a few useful suggestions for future programmes. We plan to make the Research Commercialisation Open Programme a regular offering.

The course will be running again from 10 – 14 September 2018. To learn more and apply click here

Brian Corbett and Alex Smeets are self-employed consultants and associates of Cambridge Enterprise on the International Outreach Programme.


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