Forums focused on bridging the commercialisation gap

Monday, 10 August, 2015

This month will see the launch of a free forum series, taking place in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, which is focused on education to help bridge the gap between research discovery and commercialisation. The series has been developed by the Science Next Collaborative (SNC), an initiative from Sigma-Aldrich to facilitate an exchange of knowledge, ideas, educational tools and best-practice pathways between Australia’s leading scientists.

The forums, which target early- and mid-career researchers (EMCRs), follow the SNC’s inaugural Think Tank meeting held in May and the release of a position paper in July. The paper revealed a need to encourage entrepreneurial skills within Australia’s scientific community and drive a transition from a risk-averse culture that currently stifles commercial research output.

Each forum will feature presentations from members of the SNC Think Tank — a collection of respected Australian scientists — and other academic and industry experts as keynote speakers. They will present best-practice models and case studies of how basic research discoveries can be translated into commercial success. Each session offers opportunities for discussion, debate and networking.

“The SNC is the first initiative of its kind in Australia and has shone a light on the key challenges facing EMCRs as they attempt to commercialise their research,” said Reich Webber-Montenegro, director — marketing, Inside Sales & Shared Services, Sigma-Aldrich. “Importantly, it has also started a discussion about potential solutions, examining global best practices and providing clear recommendations to address this situation within the Australian market.

“Now, the forums will provide an opportunity for a broader audience to continue these important discussions, and I’d like to encourage as many scientists as possible to attend. There will be great opportunities for networking as well as thought-provoking sessions, as we hear from leading academic and industry representatives on ways to bridge the gap along the commercialisation continuum.”

SNC Think Tank member Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson, who is presenting during the forum’s Melbourne leg, said Australia is “a world leader in basic biomedical research” but requires “a fundamental shift in the way academics collaborate with leading industry players”.

“The SNC is working to see this come to fruition,” she said, “with the forums being a prime example of this type of collaboration in action.”

Think Tank member Professor John Carver, who is presenting at the Sydney forum, added, “Our aim is for attendees to take away a new understanding of the resources and career paths available to them and feel energised and encouraged to take the necessary steps to achieve commercial success.”

Dates, locations and speakers for the forum series are as follows:

  • 26 August, at the Translational Research Institute, Brisbane, with Associate Professor Derek Richard (UQ), Professor Deborah White (UA) and other speakers
  • 3 September, at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney, with Professor Mark Baker (MQ), Professor John Carver (ANU) and other speakers
  • 8 September, at the Marriott Hotel, Melbourne, with Associate Professor Kaylene Simpson (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre), Professor Peter Currie (Monash) and other speakers

The forums are free to attend, but places are limited. To register your interest, visit

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