Ireland’s National IP Protocol updated to recognise spin-outs

28 Mar 2019

From left: Dr Alison Campbell of Knowledge Transfer Ireland with Minister John Halligan, TD. Image: SON Photographic

Fostering and nurturing spin-outs from research centres and universities is a vital cornerstone for commercialising research.

The importance of the success of spin-outs and start-ups emerging from cutting-edge research has been enshrined in the latest version of Ireland’s National IP Protocol.

Now in its third edition, the protocol sets a benchmark for good practice in the commercialisation of valuable intellectual property all around the country. It aims to do so on terms that are fair to researchers and business alike, and in ways that are predictable and consistent from one negotiation to the next.

‘The new section on spin-out company formation developed in consultation with people operating at the coalface is particularly welcome’

Future Human

“In today’s climate more than ever, it is vital that we harness the considerable abilities of Ireland’s researchers, so as to give businesses the best possible competitive edge on the European and global stage,” said Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan, TD.

Spin-outs are the hallmark of real tech transfer

The IP Protocol has been a reference point for business and research communities since it was first produced by the Government in 2012. The latest edition includes a summary of the issues relating to State aid in the commercialisation of research.

Recognising the significant numbers of spin-out companies coming out of research-performing organisations around the country, there is a dedicated section on best practice in the formation of spin-out companies.

The product of a consultative process involving industry, investors, entrepreneurs and research organisations, the protocol also includes a resource guide that provides an overview of the national IP management guidelines, and links to a wealth of resources and template documents that support these guidelines. As well as this, there is an overview of the knowledge transfer structures in Ireland, and the kinds of agreements that can be used to formalise research-industry engagements and spin-out company-related contracts.

In the last 24 hours, reported on how two Trinity College Dublin spin-outs in the medtech space, CroíValve and Azadyne, raised €3.2m and €1.75m in funding respectively. Both companies have the potential to become major employers and impact the future of medicine globally – all because of a focus on genuine knowledge transfer from a research project into a business with products and goals.

“The new section on spin-out company formation developed in consultation with people operating at the coalface is particularly welcome and was drafted to address a gap in the framework,” said Alison Campbell, director of Knowledge Transfer Ireland.

“The range of practical tools produced by Knowledge Transfer Ireland that are referenced throughout the protocol and its associated resource guide have been expanded. The aim of these tools is to provide relevant resources that demystify knowledge transfer and allow commercialisation and collaboration to flourish, while protecting the interests of all parties and freeing up researchers and businesses to get on with the business of innovating.”

Knowledge Transfer Ireland will embark on a national roadshow to present the IP Protocol 2019 to businesses and researchers around the country.

The roadshow will be in Cork on 1 April, Limerick and Galway on 2 April, and Dublin on 3 April.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years