As a UQ researcher, why should I consider commercialisation?

Commercialising your research provides benefits on multiple levels:


  • Career advancement

  • Expanded career options: The co-inventor of Brisbane Materials Technology Pty Ltd, Professor Paul Meredith, took up a key position in the start-up company formed around this product and continues to be an integral part of UQ’s research community

  • Enhanced ‘employability’

  • Professional development and peer recognition: While gaining commercial experience you can continue to publish your research outcomes and apply for patents

  • Satisfaction of bringing benefits to society

  • Generate personal economic gain: Researchers share in the proceeds of commercialised innovations as identified inventors, co-inventors and contributors


  • Another way to disseminate the knowledge generated from research

  • Another source of funding for further R&D effort: Revenue from the Triple P and Gardasil licenses provides ongoing funding for the research units at The University of Queensland run by Professor Matt Sanders and Professor Ian Frazer

  • A way to continue your research after the expiration of a grant, and a way to break free of the competitive grants cycle


  • Excellence-plus… creating jobs or curing disease; solving a problem for industry or society

  • National economic, social and political imperatives: As well as supporting your University’s strategic objectives, you can contribute to the National agenda and UQ reputation around innovation and research relevance

Can commercialisation further my research career?

It can benefit your career by:

  • providing a way to start relationships with industry

  • disseminating industry relevant research

  • leading to ARC Linkage grant applications

  • being intellectually challenging and financially rewarding

  • inspiring a new line of  pure research

  • providing a source of case study material for teaching.

Can my industry engagement efforts and commercialisation outputs go into my academic portfolio?

Yes. For a number of years now, the academic process at UQ has taken into account UQ researcher efforts and outputs with industry into the promotion process. While it may not be obvious where such information should go in your portfolio, there are key places that industry oriented activities can be stated. Below are the key points from a 2012 UniQuest presentation delivered at the request of UQ’s Human Resources Division to UQ researchers seeking promotion and separately to individuals on the promotion review panels.

The following four places are the most appropriate for inclusion of your industry engagement and commercialisation activities:

4.3 Impact measures

  • uptake of your research beyond the academic discipline: the broader social, economic, environmental and/or cultural benefits

  • provision of expert advice, consultancy or R&D services to industry

  • patents, royalty licences, involvement in spin-off companies

FOLIO 5 – Grants, Contracts and Bibliography

6.4 Consultative and Related Outside Work

7.2 Any Other Relevant Activities

What do I need to know about intellectual property?

IP can be patents, know-how, trade secrets, copyright (in its various forms including software), plant breeders rights, circuit layouts, designs or trade marks.

Technically it is an offence to refer to or imply something as “patented” unless the patent application has in fact been granted.  UniQuest can readily provide you with an accurate description of the stage/status of a ‘patent’.

A patent family means the separate patent applications in different countries for the same invention.

Patent applications are typically published 18 month after the first filing and again when they are granted.

Patent applications can be provided in support of promotion but the Abstract should be sufficient for review.

What do I need to ask about intellectual property?

  • Clarify the quantity of patents i.e. how many patent families?

  • What is the status of each patent application i.e. provisional, complete or national phase, or has it granted?

  • Have any been allowed to lapse and, if so, why?

  • Why is the IP valuable?

  • What product is likely to result?

What do I need to ask about Commercialisation?

  • What is the evidence that there is a real market need for the most likely product?

  • Has UniQuest or any potential corporate sponsors of R&D, investors or end-users confirmed that unmet need?

  • What is the plan to develop the IP or invention into the most likely product? What is your role in that plan?

  • Have funds for translational research, proof of concept or product development been obtained e.g. UniQuest’s proof of concept fund, sponsored R&D, ARCL, license or startup?