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Transferring Research & Development to Business: The long tail of funded research
02. November 2021 News

Transferring Research & Development to Business: The long tail of funded research

Great companies have great ideas. The best ideas are pursued within R&D projects, and at the end of such projects, a great new product or service is developed. However, many of the great results of R&D efforts do not create returns through being released on the market. Many of these projects just fade into nowhere for no obvious reason. Or maybe for an obvious reason??? In this article I will give my insight into why I think this happens, based on the experience from funding over 1000 R&D projects.

As a consultant, I work with many different clients. Some of them require local funding for smaller projects, some have larger plans requiring funding through programs like Horizon Europe and some international projects concern consortiums with many partners from all over Europe. Now, all of these projects have one thing in common. Many companies and research institutions are great at research & development, but they tend to be less interested in market exploitation of their end-product.

“Many companies seem not to be interested in the market deployment of their developments.”

From my experience with HORIZON 2020 in the past, HORIZON EUROPE now, and many other national and international programs, I see more and more emphasis on the market exploitation of the ideas within a funded project. However, most companies don’t have the time and money for basic market research, or they even think it is not necessary. Some even feel that their product is technically so superior, that market disruption is guaranteed, and customers will buy at first glimpse.

Unfortunately nothing is less true. Not only will customers not get notice of your products without communication, also the disruptive benefits of your products are hardly so obvious in a highly competitive landscape. It is for a reason that business economics is one of the largest disciplines within academics and all famous technical universities rank high in #shanghairanking in economics as well.

“For a reason, business economics is one of the largest disciplines within academics.”

Many customers come to us with an idea that has great market potential serving customer needs very well, but the business side of their research is insufficient. However, the difference between projects that get funded lies exactly in the business part of their applications. ONLY when the two separate disciplines of business and technology work together on R&D projects, ONLY THEN the result is a winning combination.

The European Commission reserves 100 billion Euros for great projects within the Horizon Europe program to deliver on global challenges and industrial modernization through concrete research and innovation efforts. Since the Commission wants their investment to provide results, great projects in their opinion are the ones that cover technical aspects as well as business aspects to the same extent.

“Exceptional projects cover cover technical aspects just as well as business aspects.”

So, how do me and my team at Tiko-Pro deal with this?

We apply 4 acknowledgements to any project that we contribute to:

  1. Understand who the customer is and what they want. Your customer is the owner of the problem you solve. Defining which problem you solve and who owns it will lead to your target group.

  2. Understand the market. Your customer is either unaware of the problem you solve, or solves it with another solution. The details about this need to be understood, and the understanding needs to be displayed in any application for funding.

  3. Understand value delivery. It is great to have a scientific or technical innovation, but it is also crucial to know how your technology’s value can be deployed. If you are not able to transfer the value to your customers, they will not perceive it as such, and all is useless.

  4. Understand that all this needs finance. Sources of finance for research & development are different from sources of finance for business. Accordingly, the arguments to be provided differ as well. European Grant Fundings are a source of finance for business not for R&D. So arguments need to be provided for business.

In my opinion and due to my experience I believe that only if technology and business work more closely together, ground-breaking research and development can be turned into a successful business opportunity.

Let’s talk.




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