CyberASAP Alumni Insights: "Agreeing IP with your University early and developing a robust MVP are both key to academic commercialisation success."
First off, Shamal Fally, currently at Robert Gordon University. He joined CyberASAP in his previous role at Bournemouth University, where he had done some work on creating a software platform, CAIRIS. He and his team were interested in exploring the possibility of licensing it in order to fund further research, or looking at making it available open source. Developing a Minimum Viable Product, via CyberASAP, felt like a good route to assess the best options for the platform.
However, at the time Bournemouth University didn’t have a Technology Transfer Officer (TTO). As Fally explains:
“We had numerous conversations with IP consultants but the university would only consider a spin out, whereas a licensing deal would have been more appropriate…..We were really held back by difficulties in agreeing on terms with the university……This was a test case….the Uni now has a new IP policy”.
But, although the project wasn’t able to proceed, the skills and experience gained via CyberASAP are continuing to inform the further development and commercialisation of the CAIRIS platform, for which Fally owns the IP, and which is being used in real projects today. Read the full case study here.
Feng Hao, currently at Warwick University, joined CyberASAP to develop SEEV – a “unique e-voting system that is fully verifiable, self-tallying, highly efficient, user friendly and very economical to run”.
Progress has been steady and positive: SEEV Technologies completed two Minimal Viable Products (MVPs) under CyberASAP: an e-polling station and an online shareholder voting system.
SEEV conducted a successful trial of the e-polling station MVP at Gateshead, Newcastle, on 2 May 2019 with positive feedback during the 2019 local elections, as reported by the BBC. As Hao says:
“E-voting is a competitive market, but we’re confident in the Unique Selling Point of our product: that the whole process is verifiable and the data open, which means there is no need for trusted authorities to count votes”.
He is keen to stress how crucial it is to have an MVP in order to enable meaningful discussions with industry:
“Without an MVP, you are just talking about a theoretical approach. An MVP lets you demonstrate the actual potential…..But there is still a gap between the MVP and a commercial product and you really need to get business partners in the field to help fill that gap. Find the right person to push forward this process”.
Feng Hao and Shamal Fally are just two Alumni of CyberASAP which has, since its inception in 2017, seen more 116 teams from universities all over the UK, being selected to participate. 57 teams have made it through the programme to graduate, and between them, those teams have raised more than £17m in further funding to progress their cyber innovations. Find out more about our Alumni here.
CyberASAP is funded by the UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and delivered by Innovate UK KTN and Innovate UK in partnership. Now entering its sixth year, the programme has seen 116 academic teams from all over the UK participate, and 57 graduate (the programme is selective throughout). Alumni have between them raised more than £17m in further funding to progress their cyber innovations. More about the programme’s impact is here.