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21 September, 2021 - 22:00 By Tony Quested

Programme to turn more academic inventions into commercial successes launched

Cambridge University and some of its best practices have been used to successfully launch the TenU Future Leaders Programme. Dr Ananay Aguilar, policy adviser at TenU – headquartered at Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation arm – is playing a key role in steering the new initiative and was thrilled by the launch success.

TenU, the global alliance formed by leading tech transfer offices at top global universities, is designed to turn more academic inventions into commercial successes.

Dr Aguilar tells Business Weekly: “We had 12 participants for the first session of the Future Leaders Programme, who were welcomed by seven directors from leading technology transfer offices. 

“Our focus is on forming a strong network of people who will feel compelled to pick up the phone to each other to share successes and challenges and strengthen the tech transfer sector through collaboration.”

The programme’s participating technology transfer offices represent the universities of Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, Edinburgh, Illinois, Imperial, Johns Hopkins, KU Leuven, Oxford and Stanford. 

That’s four universities based in the UK, one in the EU and six in the US. They include TenU members Cambridge, Columbia, Edinburgh, Imperial, KU Leuven, Oxford and Stanford and partners Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Illinois and Johns Hopkins.

The best practices under the microscope will paint a picture of progress as academic research increasingly dominates the commercial landscape in sectors as diverse as CleanTech, DeepTech and life science advancement.

Some of the best practices shared will be about getting academic inventors through the door of tech transfer offices – something Cambridge Enterprise has excelled at and now will share with its partners.

From across the Atlantic, Columbia will share the successes of its well-developed Diversity and Inclusion in Commercialization & Entrepreneurship Programme (DICE), whilst Stanford will showcase its state-of-the-art business development and marketing strategies.

Other best practices that will be shared include attracting investment, especially for the so-called valley of death; creating internship programmes to build capacity among young postgraduates, and working with student entrepreneurs.

The programme will exhibit case studies of new technologies such as Xampla, the Cambridge spin-out that has developed an alternative to single-use plastics, and older ones such as the DNA sequencing brilliance of Solexa, part-nurtured by Cambridge Enterprise, whose technology is gathering pace and power under the ownership of US giant Illumina.

Other distinctive technologies that will be considered include the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 and Stanford’s role in the development of the web-based search engine which became Google. You might have heard of them!

• To engage with TenU visit https://ten-u.org

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