07th June, 2021
UniSA Ventures is committed to delivering long-term economic value and community benefit emanating from the University's research.
The role reports to the Director of Commercialisation and focuses on identifying research translation opportunities, capitalising on the value of IP, and negotiating innovative revenue-generating arrangements.
Each position requires superior technical qualifications plus business development experience in one or more of the following disciplines: biotech, life sciences, business, the humanities and social science.
UniSA Ventures Pty Ltd (UniSAV) is the technology commercialisation company for, and wholly owned by, the University of South Australia (UniSA).
The primary objective is to deliver long-term economic value and community benefit from research conducted at UniSA. While the nature of such benefits can vary greatly, the underlying focus is on the translation and commercialisation of technology by leveraging our expertise and experience to create and grow companies and to license intellectual property (IP) to existing companies.
In addition, we work closely with industry partners and other Australian University researchers, as needed, with the aim of developing and supporting meaningful relationships and collaboration opportunities with the University.
UniSA Ventures has a successful track record and effective processes for licensing IP to existing companies and in starting, growing and exiting companies. In line with this, we currently have a number of companies in our investment portfolio from diverse technology areas including material science, engineering, biotech/pharma and ICT.
The Commercial Associate contributes to the commercialisation strategy relating to the assessment, preparation and deal design for the commercialisation of University sourced IP across a limited range of research domains or within a single domain. This involves close liaison with senior UniSA researchers to be aware of recent research activities and to identify potential commercialisation opportunities, developing close relationships and partnerships with relevant industry sectors to identify potential commercialisation partners for the research and managing the processes from identification through to commercialisation (including IP Licencing, sale or IPO as appropriate).
Within the overall approved strategy, Associates are expected to take initiative in identifying and pursuing commercialisation opportunities, developing new ideas for revenue generation and being regarded as a “thought leader” in relation to commercialisation in their domain. An important aspect and value of an associate is the ability to seek and engage external industry and investor companies or government agencies that are able to fund or provide valuable feedback on potentially translatable or commercialisable IP.
Projects range from relatively small, contained opportunities, through to longer term, financially significant, multi-disciplinary projects which may involve a range of partnerships with researchers, industry, other UniSA Commercialisation staff, other domestic universities and funders.
A key role for the Commercialisation Associate includes mentoring colleagues to improve their capabilities and ensure they learn and apply key success factors to enable the team to work effectively.
Working Relationships: Internal:
- Provide exceptional customer service and customer satisfaction to university staff through maintaining productive and professional working relationships with UniSA domain researchers.
- Develop strong commercial and trust relationships with domain relevant industry sectors, domain researchers, potential partners, government departments and others to demonstrate leadership in the relevant domains, to secure potential investors and to actively promote research opportunities from UniSA.
- Manage a range of commercial projects to ensure maximum benefit and value is being derived for successful commercialisation. (est. 10-25 opportunities in various stages of development).
- Identify and support opportunities to secure project funding which may include private investment, collaborative research funding and state/federal grants.
- Within the domain of operation, determine the suitability of research projects for commercialisation, recommend reasons for decisions to UniSAV management and researchers and actions needed to progress to the next stage.
- Apply for commercialisation and translational grants on behalf of the company and assist researchers to apply for similar grants through the University.
- Develop and implement business plans and investment proposals to enhance successful commercialisation of UniSA research within the domain of operation.
- Participate in structuring and negotiating deals, including license agreements and R&D partnerships, ensuring their profitable outcomes for UniSAV.
- Evaluate new and existing opportunities through undertaking appropriate due diligence (stage of research, market, IP, competitor analysis etc), deciding on which potential projects to pursue after consultation with the Director of Commercialisation.
- Contribute to the development and implementation of strategies for commercialisation of discovery outcomes, recommending the structure which optimises best value to UniSAV.
- Maintain accurate and up to date project files and project records in MyIP, including all agreements and correspondence with researchers, lawyers, patent attorneys, commercial parties and investors.
- Prepare status reports on projects as required for the Director of Commercialisation, making recommendations on actions required. Once approved, ensure that these actions are implemented.
- Develop a productive network and effective relationships with researchers and industry to identify new and potential projects and industry partners for collaboration and commercial grants.
- Help to enhance the skills of researchers to identify, protect and manage UniSA’s intellectual capital.
- Conduct or participate in workshops and seminars, and provide advice on technology transfer and commercialisation to researchers.
- Organise and lead round table discussions with significant investors and partners to negotiate/achieve an advantageous path forward in commercialisation of research outcomes for UniSA.
- Develop and maintain professional networks within the domain-appropriate technology and business community to ensure that UniSA is top of mind for potential partnerships and to demonstrate thought leadership.
- Draft term sheets for commercialisation deals for potential partners and negotiate final arrangements while adhering to company delegations of authority.
- Refer potential opportunities to other Commercialisation staff where their skills and experience are better suited, or time/project demands constrain pursuit of such opportunities.
- Decide when potential research commercialisation is unlikely to succeed and advise the researchers of why or what changes are required.
- Work with potential commercialisation partners domestically and internationally.
- Work as a Board member for spin-out companies as and when required to represent and protect UniSA’s interests and to manage commercialisation as per the agreed terms.
- Actively share knowledge and ideas with UniSAV team members to enhance team capability and effectiveness. Conduct team training sessions as required.
- Actively contribute to the UniSAV strategy day and strategy development.
Work closely with others in the Commercialisation team, to share knowledge, ideas and opportunities, as appropriate.
Work closely with the Legal Counsel to develop contracts, IP protection and other commercialisation structures.
Work with others in UniSAV, including researchers (in academic units and institutes), university research administrators (RIS) and functional groups (Facilities, Communications and ISTS).
Liaise closely with nominated UniSA senior researchers to be aware of research progress and commercialisation opportunities. External:
Develop sound working relationships with industry and potential commercialisation partners to optimise the opportunities for UniSA’s research commercialisation. Negotiate contracts to achieve profitable, commercial outcomes.
Present at industry conferences and relevant forums to enhance UniSA’s research reputation and to be aware of relevant trends related to UniSA research across nominated domains. Qualifications and Experience Required:
Personal Attributes Required
- The role requires specialisation across a range of domains, with each role differing to meet the overall needs of UniSA’s research areas. Strong business planning and project management skills.
- Proven experience in closing and executing complex Technology Transfer deals for single or multiple parties.
- Preferred at least 2-3 years of experience in commercialisation of R&D outcomes, business development, technology transfer, or equivalent experience in an academic /start-up company environment.
- Tertiary qualifications in an appropriate technical field.
- Understanding of intellectual property protection processes and procedures.
- High level communication skills including the ability to communicate a range of technical and commercial information to patent attorneys, researchers and industry partners.
- Sound understanding of legal and commercial issues and risk. Relevant contract development and negotiation experience is an advantage.
- Experience in conducting a full patent search.
- Demonstrated leadership skills.
- Proven complex contract negotiation skills.
- Ability to effectively manage a range of projects (early in cycle through to completion, short term to longer term and less complex to more complex, including multi-domain).
- Proven self-starter, able to take a hands-on approach, identify potential partners and be outcome focused to effectively secure commercial deals.
- Self-motivation and an ability to work collaboratively and with significant autonomy as required, with Commercialisation team and management.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English to prepare briefing papers, reports, business plans and pitch presentations.
- Ability and resilience to pursue the right point of contact or course of action to achieve a viable commercial result.
- Ability to manage competing priorities and appease relevant parties when agreements don’t meet expected time frames.
- Understanding of complex political landscapes, including international relationships and how these may impact on research progress and commercial potential.
- Able to co‐ordinate input from diverse sources to meet deadlines.
- Professional and flexible attitude, willing to seek out new ideas and approaches.
- Persuasiveness, pro-activeness, persistence and patience.
- Sound ability to communicate with difficult persons.
- Keen interest in technology and new innovation and keeping up to date in relevant domains.
- Cross cultural awareness and sensitivity.
Interstate and overseas travel will be required. There will be a requirement for the incumbent to work outside of normal office hours to execute this role effectively.
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