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Commercialising research: a guide to building strategic partnerships

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Commercialising academic research is a powerful way to bring new ideas and change into the world. However, for researchers and academics, business and commerce, its people and language can often feel alien.

The way a researcher or academic operates, and the goals they have to achieve in their career, are very different to those of a commercially focussed director or CEO.

So how do academics and researchers transition to the corporate world as they look to develop their research projects into commercial ventures?

In this post, we’ve put together a guide based on our experience working with researchers, universities and corporate partners. These tips are designed to get you both thinking and feeling, along with actions, to start your path forward.

Who’s involved?

Let’s start by understanding the types of groups that need to work together for the commercialisation of academic research: 


Academics and researchers 

Experts in their field who do the research.

Commercial partners

Consultancies, public sector organisations, charities, or others that will deliver or use the end result of the research.

Professional services

Experts who provide support such as legal advice, business advice, negotiating contracts, filing patents and more.


Those that provide finance, including private individual investors, investment companies and public bodies.

Identifying compatible collaborators 

Once you understand the key stakeholders, the next step is to identify partners who align with your research goals and objectives: 


Market research

Start by researching companies operating in sectors relevant to your domain. Look for organisations that have a track record of collaborating with academic institutions or working on projects similar to yours.


Utilise your professional networks to seek introductions to potential collaborators. Attend industry events, conferences, or workshops where you can meet individuals interested in research-commercial partnerships.

Assessing compatibility

While seeking collaborators, prioritise finding those with complementary skills and expertise. Look for partners who can fill skill gaps or bring unique perspectives to your research project.

Case studies and discovery calls

Dive deep into case studies of previous collaborations to understand how potential partners have contributed to similar projects. Schedule discovery calls to discuss their capabilities, resources, and alignment with your research objectives.


Ultimately, the goal is to assemble a collaborative team with diverse skill sets encompassing areas such as:


Scientific or technical expertise

Bringing in-depth knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.

Business acumen

Capable of navigating the commercial landscape, identifying market opportunities, and devising effective strategies for product development and launch.

Legal and administrative support

Expertise handling legal matters, intellectual property issues, and administrative tasks associated with commercialisation efforts.


By carefully selecting collaborators who align with your vision and bring complementary skills to the table, you can enhance the prospects of successfully commercialising your research outcomes. Remember, building strategic partnerships is not just about finding the right fit—it's about nurturing relationships and utilising collective expertise to drive innovation and create tangible impact in the real world. 

Ready to take the next step in your research commercialisation journey?

Fluent is here to help you navigate the complexities and unlock the full potential of your research outcomes. 

Our experienced consultants specialise in bridging the gap between academia and industry, facilitating strategic partnerships, and driving successful commercialisation initiatives.

And before you take the leap, be sure to do your market research. Here are some helpful resources to get you started:

  • Discover how Fluent helps university researchers effectively communicate their findings here.

  • Book a discovery call with one of our consultants today.

Let's collaborate to turn your innovative ideas into tangible solutions that make a real-world impact.

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