30 Oktober 2015

ProBIO – A new service to support market uptake of research outcomes

Is it possible to generate more business opportunities from food, agriculture and biotechnology research outcomes?

Research often achieves results which are suitable to be further developed and exploited in a commercial perspective. However, bringing such results to the market can be challenging, as research teams often lack the skills, expertise and financial resources needed to turn a “research results” into a market product. As a consequence, many research findings suitable to be developed into products for the agriculture, food or fishery industry remain unexploited, to the frustration of the research teams.

An attempt to challenge this state of affairs is being made by the ProBIO project, which actively encourages the commercial exploitation of research results through a “hands on” approach. ProBIO’s support consists in the provision of free coaching services to help projects to improve their technological readiness level in view of a commercial exploitation. Less technologically mature projects are also catered for, and are offered free guidance on how to develop their work into further R&D. As ProBIO is funded by the H2020 research programme, its services are free of charge.

ProBIO is currently in its first phase, and projects who will benefit from their services are currently being screened. “All the bioeconomy research projects co-financed by the EU are eligible to benefit from our support” states Daniele Colombo, co-ordinator of the ProBIO project “We are starting with a pool of over 400 projects and then shortlisting the most promising ones, which will receive our services. This is also an interesting exercise for our team, as it has given us the possibility to test first-hand the attitude from the research world towards going out of the labs and getting into the market”. According to Mr. Colombo, “Overall, our proposition is collecting genuine interest, and many projects we have contacted welcome professional external support. Our screening process has found some gems which – with some professional support – could develop into cutting edge solutions”. Unfortunately, often research consortia feel too daunted to try. Business planning, finding investors, setting up licensing deals or managing intellectual property rights can be challenging for organizations which are not used to confront the market. ProBIO is there to help them and – if possible – enable them to operate in a business environment.

A taster of the ProBIO services has been given at the first public ProBIO event, “Making More of Bioeconomy R&D Results”, held in Brussels on 6-7 October 2015. More than 120 people attended the two-days networking opportunity, an occasion for food, agriculture, fisheries and biotech research projects to showcase their results in an informal environment. One key moment has been the “Elevator Pitch” session where representatives from research projects presented product ideas and exploitation pathways originating from their project.

In the future, other networking initiatives will be organised. Visit www.probio-project.eu for more information about ProBIO and be sure to subscribe to the newsletter to stay updated on its upcoming initiatives and opportunities.

Source: ProBio, 2015-10-30.

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