Venture-Out Events: Taking on Ag-Tech Transfer with Oxford University Innovation

WATCH: On 23 February, the Accelerate for Impact Platform invited Oxford University Innovation to showcase its work in agricultural technology transfer and explore with CGIAR experts the pathways available for research toward value creation.

How does technology transfer support science to deliver value? What can scientists learn from the success stories of leaders in tech transfer to bridge their innovations from lab to market? Investigate these questions and more in Venture-Out Events: Taking on Ag-Tech Transfer with Oxford University Innovation; an interactive webinar organized by the Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP).

"There is a sharp rise in capital raised by university and research institute spinouts, and this fuels the opportunity for talented researchers to de-risk innovations' technological development and growth,” said Gianpiero Menza, Senior Partnerships and Innovative Finance Officer at the Alliance/CGIAR. “At the CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform, we are investigating new tech transfer models by collaborating with leading global organizations to enable science-driven venturing, valorize agri-tech intellectual property, and deliver impact at scale.”

Thus, the Accelerate for Impact Platform invited Oxford University Innovation, a leader in technology transfer, to showcase its work and inspire research valorization at CGIAR. 

“Innovation that creates solutions to increase crop yield and protect against those climate and environmental pressures are being developed by many organizations including academic and philanthropic establishments,” said Simon Warner, Head of Licensing and Ventures, Life Sciences at Oxford University Innovation. “Ensuring global access to intellectual property is important to bring ideas and innovations into the hands of farmers and growers and allow a fair value share which allows re-investment into much needed research and teaching. This is why University technology transfer offices have a key role to play, ensuring IP access and fair terms.”

Warner was joined for the discussion by Intellectual Property Specialist from the Alliance/CGIAR, David Rodriguez Machado. “The Alliance, as a CGIAR research center, delivers solutions to transform food systems and improve people's lives,” Machado said. “The intellectual assets generated in the Alliance should be always focused on how they may generate impact. Such impact may be reached through the correct use of the Alliance’s intellectual assets; through different tech transfer arrangements that ensure that our research and development gets to, or is available to, our target beneficiaries.”

Explore key learnings from the event on the different pathways for scientists to create value from their research:  

"Considering the nature of Oxford University that they want to generate impact, I think that we are very well aligned on what the CG centers want to do: that we really want to just not do research for the sake of doing research, but doing it for generating an impact in people's lives,” said David Rodriguez Machado, Intellectual Property Lawyer, ODG at the Alliance/CGIAR. “This is why we're here, and I think Simon's presentations gives us a broader perspective of how we can use our research; how can we materialize that.”

“The farmers and the growers need to make a living, and they need to grow crops that not only sustain the world but also enable them to sustain their families and their communities. So, it's looking at the whole life cycle – it's important to bear in mind, some commercial aspects are actually necessary,” Warner said.

“Everything we do at PP4I [Private Partnerships for Impact Unit], just the same as with the CGIAR, we do with passion – and our passion is focused on leaving this world in a better position thanks to our activity,” said Remy Bitoun, Senior Director of Private Partnerships for Impact at CGIAR. “One thing that is nice about intellectual property is that if you have an asset, you can give the same asset for free to public partners, but the same asset can be given with some strings attached to private partners. And that's the beauty of Intellectual property: It is a leverage on the way to getting the impact that we want.”

Ag-tech transfer services can help researchers navigate the commercialization process, connect collaborators for open innovation, manage intellectual property, source opportunities to scale, and more. Strong tech transfer at CGIAR and beyond ensures that we can derive optimal value and impact from our innovations equitably and sustainably. Watch the event and build on these ideas by sharing with a fellow innovator. 

The Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) is the Alliance/CGIAR’s venture-space to co-design, accelerate and fund market-driven and multidisciplinary innovation at the nexus of agriculture, environment, and health: Learn More

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