Why commercialise your research? Pros and cons of research commercialisation

Posted on: 15 March 2024 by Michal Filus (Number of words: 445; Read time: 2 minutes, 13 seconds) in Blog posts

Portrait of Michal Filus
Michal Filus

Michal Filus, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Manager within the Enterprise team, University of Liverpool, discusses the reasons for and against commercialising your research.

Research commercialisation presents both advantages and challenges for researchers and the broader research community. 

Commercialisation enables researchers to amplify the impact of their work by translating discoveries into products or services that benefit society. The process of bringing your research outputs to the marketplace can generate revenue streams for researchers and their institutions through licensing agreements, patents, or equity stakes in spinouts and startups, ensuring financial sustainability for future research endeavours.

Engaging in commercialisation fosters collaboration between researchers and industry partners, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and resources for more robust research outcomes. It also opens more doors to receive innovation R&D funding for further commercial and technological development of your research products. Commercialisation leads to the creation of new businesses and industries, generating employment opportunities and stimulating economic growth.

All researchers need to be aware of the following challenges that can be faced throughout the commercialisation journey. Commercialising research requires significant time, resources, and expertise, diverting attention from core research activities and academic pursuits. Building a team made of diverse experts and business-oriented individuals with experience in taking business through journey and investment growth, is crucial. Negotiating intellectual property rights and navigating complex legal frameworks can be challenging and time-consuming, especially for researchers without expertise in commercialisation. Commercialisation ventures further carry inherent risks, including market acceptance, competition, and technological obsolescence, which may result in financial losses or setbacks for researchers and their institutions.

To sum up, while research commercialisation offers numerous benefits, including impact amplification, financial sustainability, and industry collaboration, it also poses challenges such as time and resource constraints, conflicts of interest, and ethical considerations. Researchers and institutions must carefully weigh these pros and cons when considering whether to commercialise their research.

The Enterprise team within University’s Research, Partnerships and Innovation directorate, supports researchers who would like to commercialise their research. Please contact us to discuss your research commercialisation idea! 

Michal and the Enterprise team are leading several workshops as part of Making an Impact 2024 to help researchers better understand research commercialisation and the resources available at the University of Liverpool:

'Why Commercialise? Benefits, impact and research dollars' - 16th May 2024, 11:30-13:00 BST, in person at the University of Liverpool. Find out more and reserve your place here: https://MAI24WhyCommercialise.eventbrite.co.uk

'Spinning out your research: Why, when and how?' - 3rd June 2024, 14:00-15:30 BST, in person at the University of Liverpool. Find out more and reserve your place here: https://MAI24SpinningResearch.eventbrite.co.uk

'Grant writing workshop with Innovate UK Business Growth' - 12th June May 2024, 10:00-12:00 BST in person at the University of Liverpool. Find out more and reserve your place here: https://MAI24InnovateUKEdgeWriting.eventbrite.co.uk

About the author

Michal Filus takes the role of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Manager within the Enterprise team, University of Liverpool. Michal provides operational support to the University’s Enterprise Investment Fund and manages entrepreneurial training programmes for research and research support colleagues.

Further reading:

IP Commercialisation pages: https://staff.liverpool.ac.uk/research/ip-commercialisation/  

UKRI Research Commercialisation: https://www.ukri.org/what-we-do/commercialisation/ 

UKRI How to commercialise your research: https://www.ukri.org/councils/esrc/impact-toolkit-for-economic-and-social-sciences/how-to-commercialise-your-research/#contents-list  

Luca Mannocchi, UKRI BBSRC, Challenges and opportunities for commercialisation of research out of the social sciences: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/challenges-opportunities-commercialisation-research-out-mannocchi/