Commercialisation is the fundamental aim of the Malta Council for Science and Technology’s Research and Innovation fund. This programme supports the assessment of such commercialisation potential prior to the actual undertaking of any research and development. This ensures that, before actually undertaking any research and development, the inventor would already be informed about the possibility of protecting the idea through intellectual property as well as gain awareness about the market potential and the economic wealth it can generate, for the good of society at large. As a result, the FUSION Commercialisation Voucher Programme aims at assisting inventors and researchers to assess the commercial and market potential of their ideas.
This Programme consists of 3 Stages covering: IP Check, Market Research and Product Development Costing and. Economic Impact and Risk Profile. These are then followed by 3 ad-hoc vouchers that can be used throughout the life-cycle of a subsequent Technology Development Project. The last three vouchers cover the Business Plan, Initial Patent Application and Investors’ Meetings. Typically, the activities would be undertaken sequentially.
The IP Check determines whether the proposed research and innovation has already been developed, protected and owned by others. Intellectual Property (IP) protection is critical to foster and harness innovation. Without the right protection of ideas, inventors would not reap the full benefits of their inventions, resulting in there being fewer resources available for further research, development or innovation. To this end another voucher is offered to actually protect the idea through the Initial Patent Application. An inventor has the right to claim ownership of an idea if it has not been officially recognised and patented. This will prohibit others from making, using or selling that invention. Through a patent an inventor will have the opportunity to pursue patent protection for the invention described and claimed.
Besides the IP protection the vouchers also cover the commercial aspect of the proposal. A voucher is provided to undertake a Market Research and Product Development Costing study. The Market Research section will determine whether there is a market for the technology itself, or for other technologies, products and services that might be derived from it in. In particular it will study the potential demand and the possible geographical location/s. The product development costing exercise will provide an approximate estimate of how much will it cost to produce or manufacture the product, service or technology which will result from the proposed idea. This will indicate whether it is worth investing in the research and innovation proposal.
The feasibility of a project is determined through its potential return on investment. As such, a proposal needs to be analysed in terms of its outcome, and the impact it would have on the economy at large. To this extent the third stage of the Commercialisation Voucher Programme provides a voucher to cover an economic impact assessment and the risk profile analysis. These examine the potential effect of a proposal on a particular economy, particularly in terms of the eventual changes in economic growth (output or value added) and associated changes in jobs (employment) or income (wages). They also determine the level of risk faced by a potential investor.
In order to increase the possibility of commercialising the idea, financial support is provided to establish clearly which are the main goals and objectives and how to attain them. This is done through the business plan voucher. Finally, the Council will support the researcher and/or inventor to meet potential investors which might be interested in the idea.
A number of Service Providers have been selected through an open call to perform these consultancy services. These have agreed to provide their service in accordance with a set of terms and conditions and within a stipulated timeframe. All Service Providers have signed NDA with the Council.