Saturday, March 14, 2009

Researcher to Entrepreneur

Interesting article about a British Academic bringing Silicon Valley entrepreneur culture to British academic research. This article about Mark Ferguson, from 2001 details his career leading to the formation of the Manchester Incubator and Renovo, a company he co-founded.
So rather than just approaching a company with an idea, it was necessary to have a fully developed proposal. "Then you need to find people in the company who will support you, you need to be clear how you can develop your research into something that they can make and make money from, so there not only has to be some underpinning science but also a product development pathway. You definitely have to be astute about intellectual property, and either have filed patent applications or know how to do that, because that’s the whole basis of the industry."
. . .

After several years, Ferguson found he had built up good relationships with some pharmaceutical companies and was securing substantial funding for research. But, there was a problem. "They didn’t actually take the things forward from R&D into development."

Even though Ferguson’s group had made some genuinely useful discoveries, the technology was not being taken to market. He was falling into what the DTI has long identified as the "development gap". Getting out of it would require going a step further.


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