The Global Town Hall on Research Commercialisation on 11 May 2023 dove into the challenges and highlighted the moving innovative research out of the lab to achieving real-world impact, both here in Australia and overseas.
The expert panel of Advance GameChangers and local Australian innovators discussed ways to boost Australia’s track record in commercialising research and what policy changes will support innovators and entrepreneurs on their journey – now and into the future.
Rupal Ismin opened the presentation segment of the townhall with an overview of of Research and Commercialisation in Australia, with a particular focus on the the role Universities currently play, and how this participation will evolve in the future. She then delved into a variety of reasons why Australia is currently lagging behind global Research Commercilisation efforts, including; insufficient industry engagement, management issues, limited networks and opposing priorities.
The conversation then moved to Professor Pestell, who reflected on his own experience moving research into a commercial sphere. Adding on suggestions of how Universities can better support their researchers to commercialise their ideas.
“We need to create a culture in universities where there is a responsibility to do public good by commercialising research. This should be supported by the government and tax payers.”
Following Professor Pestell, Sam Elsom brought a different perspective to the discussion, relaying the journey of his company Sea Forest and the importance of finding consumers for newly commercialised research. In Sam’s case, the process of incentivising cattle farmers to adopt his product requires not just on the basis of sustainability, but to also be cost effective.
Dr Aida Brankovic then joined the conversation, offering a unique government perspective through her work with CSIRO, explaining how new technology is creating avenues for less traditional forms of commercialisation, and easier access for researchers to either commerciliase their IP themseleves or finding entrepreneurs that can assist.
“Researchers should not be afraid to say there is a problem, and industry partners should be as happy to hear this news as well as good news.”
Closing the presentation, Danny Kennedy provided the perspective of not just an entrepreneur, but an investor who has backed over 880 start ups, turning research into a a rnge of commercial products. He summarised the four specific inputs we should consider in research commercialisation: namely – Ideas, People, Money and Demand. In addition, he stressed the importance of “intent” and government getting behind a future goal with aligned regulatory and tax incentives.
Following the panellists, a selection of experts shared their insight in pre-recorded interviews. Adam Malouf, Romaric Bouveret, Natasha Rawlings, John Manusu, Prof Hari Nair, and Sam Ringwaldt provided These short, sharp presentations provided comparisons with Dubai, Singapore, USA and Canada.
Finally, the discussion was opened up to the floor, offering participants the chance to ask the distinguished panel their own questions. These included strategies to incentivise consumers, Australia’s strong and weakpoints, the impact of machine learning, what government, universities and institutions should be doing differently, and much more.
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