As a major public research university we strive to make a positive impact through knowledge. One important aspect of that impact is our capacity to move research results from the laboratory or clinic into new or improved products and services in the marketplace. Our success in translating research results into practice not only accelerates the beneficial aspects of our research, but also has a major positive impact on our region’s economy. This is an important role for a university in today’s knowledge-driven economy. We are rightfully proud of our growing leadership at the frontiers of research, but we should also play a leading role in translating that knowledge into use.
The University of Pittsburgh, as one of the nation’s top research universities, remains fully committed at the highest levels to supporting innovation commercialization as part of its educational mission. With over $700 million dollars invested into research and development efforts at the University each year, commercialization provides Pitt innovators the opportunity to explore and develop the commercial potential for their research and ideas, helping to transform them into products and processes for the innovators’ benefit, as well as for the benefit of the University and humankind.
What is commercialization?
Commercialization is the process by which a new product or service is introduced into the general market. Commercialization is broken into phases, from the initial introduction of the product through its mass production and adoption. It takes into account the production, distribution, marketing, sales and customer support required to achieve commercial success. As a strategy, commercialization requires that a business develop a marketing plan, determine how the product will be supplied to the market and anticipate barriers to success.
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Benefits of Commercialization
Commercialization of research provides new products and services that can be used to solve some of life’s most pressing problems, as well as making incremental improvements to the quality of life for consumers and business effectiveness across a wide variety of domains.
Spanning across areas such as healthcare, environmental, wellness, fitness, education, industrial applications, and simply, day-to-day life, innovations resulting from University research are most impactful when they are in the hands of those who can benefit from them most. Overall, societal benefit is the key driver behind commercializing new inventions at the University of Pittsburgh.
Taking innovations to market through commercialization also provides an economic benefit. Whether it be through the licensing of technology to other companies or through the development of new startup companies, commercialization provides new revenue generation and job creation locally, regionally and potential across the globe.
Commercialization provides an opportunity to engage with industry partners, investors and other businesses. These partnerships can result in additional funding sources to further University research. Oftentimes, the University can serve as supplemental R&D resources to industry partners who serve as a conduit for translating research to the broader market. In addition, the University can generate revenue that can be reinvested into research, cover commercialization related costs and fund the pursuit of entrepreneurship.
Recruitment and Retention
The successful commercialization of innovations results in positive publicity and also generates awareness of the research, inventions and the entrepreneurial culture of the University. These successes and publicity can help to retain and attract both faculty and students, as well as additional research and commercial partners.
By having a focus on entrepreneurship and commercialization, both faculty and staff can get exposure to the business community which can be beneficial in multiple ways. Bridging academia and industry can result in increased knowledge of the business sector, career development opportunities and investor relations.
Commercialization can take several shapes – from licensing a technology to an established company or entrepreneur to creating a startup company from the ground up. Learn more about how your innovation can get to market.
Still interested in learning more about commercialization? Check out our programs and courses that may be of help to you or explore our Inventor’s Guide.