More spin-outs from AU research

Knowledge from the universities must to a greater extent be used to develop products and solutions in Danish companies. The Department of Biomedicine and iNANO are at the forefront of a new pilot project to boost commercialisation of research.

2017.04.07 | Signe Schou

Considerable potential is hidden in patents and research results, and the four-year project Open Entrepreneurship will focus on creating more spin-outs as well as on strengthening the collaboration between the university and innovative companies that can use the research commercially. The Danish Industry Foundation is financing the pilot project.

More spin-outs from the research environments

Local business units will be established to support the process of creating more spin-outs. These business units will help specific research areas exploit commercialisation potential successfully.

At AU, local business units will be established at the Department of Biomedicine and at iNANO. Both areas have experience with spin-outs and want to develop the commercialisation potential of their research.

The business units will consist of specialists within the specific fields as well as people from the industry who possess experience with entrepreneurship and business operations. The purpose of developing an entrepreneurial environment for research is to boost commercialisation and thereby create a stronger pipeline of spin-outs.

“At the Department of Biomedicine, we are increasingly focusing on patents which may have industrial potential. It was therefore an obvious choice for this department to enter into a collaboration which increases the level of support for researchers who want to test their inventions and discoveries in new innovative companies. We hope that these activities will also inspire the students in cases where focus traditionally has been on the public sector,” says head of the Department of Biomedicine, Professor Thomas G. Jensen.

Exchange and case competitions

The project is also going to increase interfaces between the innovation environments at the university and in the companies. Among other things, the project provides an opportunity for business representatives to be in the research environments and be part of a close collaboration on activities. On the other hand, the companies will also open their doors to researchers who want to develop the potential of their research.

Case competitions will also be used to involve students in the innovation processes and provide them with networks which may be useful in their future careers.

Inspiration from the USA

The inspiration comes from California where experience has shown that successful commercialisation of research is best achieved when the process is led by external entrepreneurs who possess knowledge of the market and experience with business operations.

Rector Brian Bech Nielsen welcomes this pilot project: “Aarhus University can offer the in-depth expert knowledge which the business community expects and wants. The quality of our research paves the way for a higher level of commercial exploitation, and that is why we must focus even more on exchange with the business community. We must develop more spin-outs, and we can do that by strengthening the environments for research to ensure better exploitation of commercial potential.”

The Danish Industry Foundation invests DKK 45 million in the Open Entrepreneurship project, and so far, in addition to AU, the Technical University of Denmark, the IT University of Copenhagen, and Aalborg University are also participating.

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