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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Technology Commercialization- I Corps Teams

Government funding agencies and research organisations have thousands of technologies, declared as ready for transfer to industry but the off-take is minuscule. Similar problem exists in other countries too and they addressed the problem in different ways. The experience of USA in promoting I-Corp Teams is interesting.
The objective is to identify NSF-funded researchers who will receive additional support - in the form of mentoring and funding - to accelerate innovation that can attract subsequent third-party funding. The purpose of the NSF I-Corps Teams grant is to give the project team access to resources to help determine the readiness to transition technology developed by previously-funded or currently-funded NSF projects. The outcomes of I-Corps Teams projects will be threefold: 
1) a clear go or no go decision regarding viability of products and services,
 2) should the decision be to move the effort forward, a transition plan for those projects to move forward, and 
3) a technology demonstration for potential partners.
What is importance of supplementary grant?
The tendency of researchers is to close the project, declare it as success and apply for grant to next project. There is little economic or academic interest in continuing work on so called completed project till clear go/ no-go decision is taken. CSIR tried this model but results were not satisfactory mainly due to limitation of taking all CSIR scientists into the team. PI not interested,  Entrepreneurial Lead and Mentors are in short supply. 
It is time to take up similar program in right earnest. Even if this does not lead to dramatic raise in license, the junk (from commercialization perspective) can be cleared.

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