London, UK — An initiative from Invest Northern Ireland is designed to help commercialise the leading edge technologies that are emerging from universities. A similar programme has been running in Scotland since 1999.
The Proof of Concept Programme should assist researchers to export their ideas from the lab to the marketplace, increasing the number and quality of entrepreneurial businesses spinning out from university research.
Fabian Monds, chairman of Invest NI, said: “To create sustainable economic development it's absolutely vital that we fully realise the potential of our university research and technology base. Invest NI believes that in providing early stage funding, this programme will encourage innovation, stimulate higher levels of R&D and ultimately its commercial exploitation.”
The Proof of Concept Programme will support individuals and small groups of academics to prove a base technology related to an idea with true commercial potential. Projects will result in either a new high growth business or a licensing deal for the new technology.
Monds added, “The projects supported through the programme may be high risk and could take several years to become commercially attractive to private investors. The Programme therefore represents a commitment to exploiting research and innovation.
The programme will initially run as a three-year pilot involving the Queen's University and the University of Ulster. If successful it may then be rolled out to include further education colleges and health trusts.