BIP allows technologies developed in academia, to be presented and validated on the market, promoting technology transfer and the creation of new businesses.
BIP started with 3 entities - U.Porto Innovation (the University tech transfer office), and two research institutes: CIMAR (environment and marine sciences) and INESCTEC (system and computer engineering).
It aims to build and test alternative business models for technologies developed in academia, to help them cross the "valley of death" (the existing obstacles from an emerging technology to the creation of a compelling new market-driven business).
Tech solutions need to become profitable and available to a bigger audience, but on the other hand, commercialization has to be supported by a consistent business model plan. This programme allows both parties (business and academia) to complement each other’s needs.
The BIP starts with two public calls (one for technologies and other for business elements) who are matched into working teams for the 12 bootcamps that make up the full programme.
BIP gathers industrial partners establishing business challenges, mentors who provide consulting for cross-sectional areas (ex:. marketing or funding) and mentors for specific sectoral business areas (ex:.health or energy).
Within the context of HELIUM, we found this to be a proven good practice in Valorization of Innovation, since its implementation led to a significant increase in the number of innovations, namely in the health sector, that were able to transition to the market.
Regarding the financial resources required, the total budget summed up for the 3 partners was about 250.000 €, within a total of 3 years.
On what comes to human resources, there’s 6 to 7 full time employees working for this project.
Evidence of success
- 32 projects, specifically: Health (5 projects), Architecture (2), Energy (5), Social Innovation (2), Logistics (2), Biotech (9), Engineering (7);
- 312 hours of training;
- 127 participants;
- 18 mentors;
- 7 expert trainers.
Although the actual values are confidential, we can disclose that 3 out of the 5 projects in Health have successfully secured private funding for the development of proof-of-concept/prototype/MVP.
Adjusting the time to market for each group is hard, since the R&D-Business processes might be radically different from market to market.
A lesson learned: a strong mentor’s pool is essential because they’re the market sector gatekeepers and therefore essential for the business model validation.
Potential for learning or transfer
Assuming that other communities/geographical areas gather both research groups and business elements from several areas, and available mentors to meet regularly as on the BIP, projects like this one, that rely mostly on the ability of organizing and scaling a specialized network, can be easily transferred to other contexts.
All public authorities should consider this simple solution to boost innovation, particularly institutions that have great needs in innovation but limited ability to outsource solutions. It is important to highlight that, to make this practice happen, only a small amount of financial resources was needed - this means the main concern should be gathering the right kind of specialized mentors and making sure there are compatible areas between the R&D research groups and the business elements.
The greatest advantage of BIP is that it uses only resources that are already existing in the ecosystem and by, creating synergies between them, creates added value.