The road less taken - Rethinking commercialisation of innovative R&D
Few would dispute the value that scientific research and development activities can bring when they are directed at a well-recognised and urgent problem, and where everybody stands to benefit from finding a solution to the problem being researched. Pandemic experience over recent months is a case in point, with generally broad support for the unprecedented cooperation between R&D scientists for development of COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.
In practice and in less extreme circumstances, however, the research innovation landscape can be less harmonious. Science R&D is a diverse, complex, costly and competitive business. Reasons for commissioning R&D differ and resource demand frequently exceeds resource supply. It is not unheard of for there to be an uncomfortable tension between how project elements are defined, combined into a whole and a value assigned to the project on the one hand, and the “who”, “how” and “why” of project funding on the other hand. This tension can be especially prominent across transition phases such as when moving from fundamental to translational R&D or when rolling out translation into commercialisation activities.
As discussions around pandemic-related spending and building the economy back are gathering momentum, now is an opportune time to pose questions about how the later stages of innovation development and commercialisation could and should be funded and modelled differently to give these projects the best chance of marketplace success.
The Parliamentary & Scientific Committee – All Party Parliamentary Group’s Science in Parliament journal addressed this conundrum in its Summer 2021 edition*. Biophys Ltd were pleased to be able to contribute to this discussion in this edition.
Science in Parliament, “Funding for innovation – An irreconcilable problem”, Vol 77 No 2, Summer 2021, pp.4-5.