Transferring Technology from Lab to Market
What does lab to market mean?
Lab to market (L2M) is the process of transferring new technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace.
Several factors at the market level are necessary to generate effective technology transfer processes, such as sufficient firms that are able to invest the money, time, and efforts to turn the IP into marketable products; a market that is ready to buy the product once it has been fully developed and is ready for sale; an absorption capacity to assimilate new knowledge and apply it to commercial ends. At the same time, universities and research institutions also have several market-related challenges to address in order to establish successful technology transfer agreements.
Academic institutions are particularly sensitive to challenges in dealing with the market environment for many reasons. First, because universities and research institutions are nonprofit organizations, even if they generate revenues through consultancies, services or technology transfer activities.
The main mission of university TTOs would rarely be financial, but rather focused on getting out research outcomes to users, and, if possible, collecting an income as return on research investment.
As mostly a “market observer” than player, academic institutions have a different understanding of the potential value of a technical solution on a specific market than market players, such as venture capitalists, industry partners or technology brokers.
Also, due to the lack of the real IP markets in the most emerging economies and rather non-transparent information regarding mechanisms and tools to be applied in determining the value and subsequently the price for transferred IP, academic institutions often have asymmetric information and negotiation positions vis-a-vis their business partners. Due to their main mission, which is impact and not income, universities are mainly developing their internal capacities to evaluate technologies, based on internally defined criteria, and outsource IP valuation services, which go beyond calculation of the cost of technology development.