Date published: 07/06/17
Career Development – Dr Andrew Aldridge
- Current Organisation: University of Leeds
- Current Position: Post-Doctoral Research Scientist
- Secondment organisation: IKC Medical Technologies
- Secondment supervisor/colleague name: Jo Dixon-Hardy
Understanding of the commercialisation pathway
My name is Dr. Andrew Aldridge and I am a Post-Doctoral Researcher working in the field of Regenerative Medicine, specifically the use of adult stem cells in combination with tissue scaffolds. I decided to apply for a secondment to help my understanding of the commercialisation pathway that universities have to progress their emerging technologies.
I work closely with the NHSBT-TES so my research has always had a clear goal in mind (the development of a product for patient benefit) but I wanted to further understand how the research that goes on in universities goes on to be a commercial product. I always felt that there seemed to be so many great research projects that just ended up getting abandoned when the grant funding had finished.
I choose the Medical Technologies IKC to do my secondment in as I had seen the work they had done with some of my colleagues, and their role seemed to be to help academics take their research further, to try to help secure external interest to allow the research project to develop into the beginnings of a commercial technology. I had seen members of the IKC team give presentations at various conferences I had attended, and not only were the people there very knowledgeable and experienced, but approachable and friendly too.
I am hoping that I will be able to expand my current knowledge about what attracts commercial partners to a good research project, what factors to consider when doing research that could improve the chances of it becoming a commercial product, how to assess research projects and new technologies and how to manage the intellectual property arising from a research project; better understanding what can be divulged and what should be kept unsaid.
Supporting the translate process
In my normal role as a PDRA I am actively involved in research, my day to day role is typically spent in the laboratory doing experiments, or researching new methods that would help progress my work.
In my secondment role I am working typically with other researchers to try to understand what they need to help translate their research, facilitating the process of getting it from the laboratory into the hands of end users, not only at the University of Leeds, but also with the Translate team and their partners at the other Leeds City Region universities.
I am working closely with Technology Innovation Managers to see what’s involved in their role, and learning how they interact with academics, researchers and industry to project manage their Proof of Concept (POC) projects. I am gaining experience in project evaluation and review as well as assessing the potential in submitted POC projects applications.
Additionally, I have been working closely with the IP Manager on the team to find out more about how to do prior art/FTO searches, how to assess if a research proposal or technology is novel and what existing patents it may be infringing on.
I look forward to gaining more experience around the management of IP with regards to medical technologies.