Benefits for supervising PIs
The Techcelerate programme offers the funding and support to release selected postdocs from the lab and enable them to develop research ideas into commercial ventures. The programme provides the time and expertise needed to formulate and test a business model, meet potential partners and buyers, and be part of a community of entrepreneurs.
Professor Andrew Amis is from Imperial’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. His postdoc Hamidreza Alidousti worked on a idea for a new shoulder replacement in the first round of Techcelerate. Another postdoc, Dong Wang, is among the second cohort.
Professor Amis said: “The principal benefit of the scheme is that it leads the postdocs into asking commercially-related questions about their ideas. I like the way in which the Techcelerate programme empowers them to explore these aspects and expand their expertise.”
As well as enabling a pipeline for potential spin-outs, the programme will also enhance postdocs’ commercial knowledge and skills, giving them insights into possible alternative career pathways. This increased awareness of commercialisation opportunities can be shared with the supervising PI as well as with other colleagues in the lab.
Professor Paul Freemont is Head of the Section of Structural Biology at Imperial. His postdoc Richard Kelwick joined Techcelerate to develop an idea for improving cancer research using exosomes, the tiny packages sent out by our cells.
Professor Freemont said: “Commercialisation is very challenging and equally rewarding to academia, so we should support postdocs applying for Techcelerate.”
Professor Martin Trusler became involved with the Techcelerate when his postdoc Geraldine Torín Ollarves joined to develop an idea for a high-pressure valve. He said: “Techcelerate is really all about finding out if there’s a market. We had worked exclusively on the technical aspects of the invention. To be honest, that’s all we really know about. The potential benefit that I saw at the beginning was that Geraldine would get the opportunity to explore possible markets, some we had already thought of and maybe some we hadn’t thought of.”
Read a Q&A with Professor Martin Trusler about his experience of Techcelerate.
Read more about the benefits of taking part in these case studies from the first Techcelerate cohort.