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Going beyond scientific breakthroughs, toward commercialization and value for society

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Author: Andrea Di Anselmo, Vice-President at Meta Group and EBN Board member, representing EU|BIC Associate members

Progress of knowledge is essential for all communities. Around Europe, this is achieved with programmes and public investment in scientific projects and organisations. Yet, despite these efforts, only very few results stemming from such investments generate an impact outside the scientific community. On the other hand, there is a persistent need to transform results into benefits for the society, maximising the social, economic, technological, and scientific value of public funding.

Successful facilitation of innovation in the transformation of value is only possible if findings succeed in exiting the R&D dimension and become an innovation that reach the “market”. The truth is that this last step that is “using R&D results or facilitating its use” – by licensing for example – is still a bottleneck.

To facilitate the market uptake of scientific breakthroughs, we should be proactive and more entrepreneurial.

Innovation enablers should address simultaneously technology and the business dimensions – adopting an iterative learning process based on early customer or user feedback.

Entrepreneurial science requires a careful combination of research, technology development and validation to increase TRL beyond proof of principle to the point of having viable demonstrators. We should understand that commercialisation that is the use of market research, business modelling, competitive edge, positioning towards potential competitors et cetera – can be more crucial than a publication with a high impact factor.

Most importantly, we need to be prepared to raise funds and get both the technology and the use model investment-ready. “Pecunia non olet”. It is crucial to make sure we reach the maturity needed for our new knowledge to be used. No use no impact, no benefits, no societal advancement, no green and digital transition.

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