Commercialising your research

We can help you maximise the economic and social impact of your research through commercialisation. 

Commercialising intellectual property (IP) is about getting your invention/technology to market. Technology is typically transferred through a Licence Agreement in which the University grants its rights in the technology to a third party (the licensee) for a period of years. The licensee may be an established company or a new business start-up.

Licences include terms that require the licensee to meet certain performance requirements and to make financial payments to the University. These payments are shared with the inventors and are distributed to the Schools, Faculty, and Division of Research and Innovation to provide support for further research, education, and participation in the tech transfer process.

Technology Transfer Process

Observations and experiments during research activities often lead to discoveries and inventions. An invention is any useful process, machine, composition of matter, or any new or useful improvement of the same. 

Below you will find a summary of our technology transfer process. For more detailed information please refer to the Inventor's Guide - A guide to technology transfer at the University of Adelaide

  • 1. Invention Disclosure

    University of Adelaide researchers (inventors) should disclose their invention to the Innovation and Commercial Partners Branch by completing an Invention Disclosure Form and emailing it to our IP Manager.

    An invention disclosure remains a confidential document and should fully document your invention so that the options for commercialisation can be evaluated and pursued. 

    Invention Disclosure Form

  • 2. Assessment

    Our IP Manager and one of our Commercial Managers will review the invention disclosure, conduct patentability review, and analyse the market and competitive technologies to determine the invention’s potential for commercialisation. This process will guide the strategy on whether to focus on: 

    1. Releasing the invention through publication for public good or;
    2. Licensing to an existing company or to a new business start-up.

    Although an invention may fit the criteria for being patentable, novel and inventive, it may not have commercial justification to proceed, or it may be difficult to differentiate from or determine benefit compared to existing technologies. 

  • 3. Intellectual Property Protection

    Safeguarding Intellectual Property (IP) with protection through patents, plant breeder’s rights, secret know how and copyright is crucial to fostering an innovation because it creates a proprietary position during which others cannot use the invention thus giving time to invest in getting a technology to market and reap in the reward.

    We work with the inventors to decide the best path forward to protect the IP, and come to an agreement on initial costs for registering rights and ongoing application costs.

    We will oversee the patent application process in close collaboration with inventors and external patent attorneys and seed the initial costs, which are usually limited to the initial three years of the patent.

  • 4. Marketing

    Our Commercial Managers work with inventors to identify companies that have the expertise, resources, and business networks to bring the technology to market. This may involve marketing to an existing company or a start-up. The inventors’ active involvement is essential as the inventors are the experts and can dramatically help facilitate the marketing process.

  • 5. Licensing

    Once a company (licensee) is identified, we negotiate and execute a Licence Agreement.

    A Licence Agreement is:

    • a contract between the University of Adelaide and a third party in which the University’s rights to a technology are licensed, without relinquishing ownership, for fair consideration (e.g., upfront fee, milestone payments, royalties) and other benefits.
    • used with both a new start up business or with an established company.

    A fee-based option agreement is sometimes used to enable a third party to evaluate the technology and its market potential for a limited time, prior to making a decision about licensing.

  • 6. Commercialisation

    The licensee continues the advancement of the technology and makes other business investments to develop the product or service. This step may entail further development, regulatory approvals, sales and marketing support, training, and other activities.

  • 7. Revenue

    Revenues received by the University from licences are distributed according to the University's Intellectual Property Policy.

    For a patented invention, typically a third of net revenues will be distributed to the originators of the invention, a third to the originator’s School or administrative unit for strategic investment in research, as agreed by the Executive Dean of the relevant Faculty, and a third to the Department of Research Innovation for strategic investment in research.