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Videos show publication and commercialisation go hand-in-hand

Thursday, 4 May 2017 9:50pm

Pharmacy’s Professor Stephen Duffull share his commercialisation experience in one of three videos produced by Otago Innovation Ltd to encourage academics to enter the annual Proof of Concept competition.

A series of videos, highlighting the reasons to commercialise research findings and the stories behind two University-based companies, has been launched by Otago Innovation Ltd as the closing date for this year’s Proof of Concept competition draws nearer.

Otago Innovation Ltd emailed three videos to academics last week – one on Monday, the second on Wednesday, and the third on Friday – to demonstrate how commercialisation works and give them a clearer understanding of whether it was something they were interested in.

Watched together, the three videos underscore the need to patent research ideas while publishing in order to create a “monopoly” opportunity for a company.

In the first video the Director of the Research and Enterprise Office Dr Gavin Clark talks about an incident he experienced early in his career with a Senior Academic, who mistakenly believed he could give his work away and let the world benefit.

“In order to take that invention to a product, a company needs to put in a significant investment over a long period of time,” Dr Clark explains in the video. “So if there is no monopoloy as provided by a patent they simply won’t go there. So, no patent, no investment, that means no product and no benefit to society. We manage that by simply making sure a patent is filed before the publication is made and that way we can do it all.”

In the second video Dr Stephen Sowerby shares the story of his parasite diagnostic tool invention and describes the impact the patent he was granted has had on a local business and also those suffering from internal parasites.

“With a patented investment we have been able to form a company, to develop the technology so that it’s usable in the marketplace, to deliver it to the marketplace and to have real people using it in a way that there’s no way we could have achieved with just the publication,” he says in the video. “The patent gave us the monopoly opportunity that the commercial investment sector was looking for.”

The third video see’s Pharmacy’s Professor Stephen Duffull share his commercialisation experience. Having been the Dean of the School of Pharmacy amongst other roles, Professor Duffull talks about his Simpharm Health Simulation Software product and the pathway it took him to get an off-shore licence deal.

The video follows his 10-year journey and highlights the need for persistence.

The 11th annual $60,000 Proof of Concept competition opened last month and closes on Monday 15 May.

Proof of Concept Management team member Jodie Ludwig says the videos are another way to generate interest in the Competition, which searches for research ideas that can be commercialised.

In addition to the videos, Otago Innovation Ltd provides a “coach” – one of its Commercialisation Managers to help academics compile their competition applications.

“It’s not necessary, but the offer is there. Moreover, you can complete and submit your application easily online by logging into the application form on our website using your University of Otago credentials.

“Under the University of Otago Intellectual Property Policy a third of the rewards go to you personally, a third go to your department and a third go to the University.”

About this year’s contest:

The grant available is $60,000.
Applications close on Mon 15 May, 5pm.
A "pitch-then-lunch" event will be held on Tue 16 May, contact Jodie for details and RSVP, Email:
The competition is open to all the University’s academic staff. Students can apply in conjunction with their supervisor or another academic staff member.
For more information, go to
The application form can be found at