Emerging technologies boost to universities

Monday, 3 August 2015

Commercialisation of emerging technologies from local research has been given a boost with $400,000 provided to the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia to help secure intellectual property.

Funded by the State Government, through BioSA, the grants to the universities’ commercialisation arms, Adelaide Research & Innovation (University of Adelaide) and ITEK (UniSA), will help both universities seek patent protection for research with commercial potential. This could lead to new companies and the creation of high tech jobs.

Science and Information Economy Minister Gail Gago said the grant was in line with the Government’s economic priority of helping innovation thrive.

“Transforming our economy depends on making our State globally competitive, and we are 100 per cent committed to companies that are prepared to innovate and adapt and help our economy reap the rewards of business change,” she said.

“We have an innovative culture in South Australia that regularly generates commercial ideas. Early patent protection is critical to securing our ideas for future business and that is why this is a brilliant step forward.”

Adelaide Research & Innovation Managing Director Rob Chalmers said: “Filing patents can be very expensive and it can be difficult to justify this investment at a stage before the commercial and market potential of the research has been properly tested. This extra funding support is very welcome and means that we can give more discoveries and innovations a go ─ with potentially significant benefits for the state and economy.”

ITEK Chief Executive Officer Dr Stephen Rodda agrees: “This early stage investment is a welcomed boost for our researchers and signals confidence in the ability of South Australian universities to drive successful outcomes from research discoveries.”

Examples of projects benefiting from patent protection include:
• PUFAcoat – a simple protection system that is capable of stabilising fatty acids in human dried blood spot samples for extended periods when stored at room temperature. Developed by the University of Adelaide and recently licensed to Xerion Limited, this system has global applications for clinical studies and large-scale diagnostic screening in humans;
• Molecular Probes – a novel generation of molecular probes that allow, for the first time, visualisation in live cells of certain lipid metabolism-linked molecular events in order to further understand disease. Invented and developed by a team at UniSA, in collaboration with Curtin University. These probes are currently being developed for use worldwide in disease research laboratories and will be launched later this year.

The new grants are an extension of the BioSA Intellectual Property Management Initiative which was first announced in 2012. BioSA Chief Executive Dr Jurgen Michaelis says successful IP protection and commercialisation strategies are key to driving forward innovation and knowledge-based enterprises in South Australia.

“There are major potential benefits from successful commercialisation of this research, such as new medical treatments, new businesses, jobs and income,” said Dr Michaelis. “Our universities are producing world-class research and new discoveries that have commercialisation potential. We need to successfully harness that expertise for the future of this state.”


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