Research-based innovators are critical to driving societal changes and developing game-changing solutions to global concerns. However, transforming research findings into market-ready products or services needs significant financial investment. In this webinar, we looked at the funding options for research-based innovators, such as grants, venture capital, and angel investors. Understanding the various funding choices and their requirements can assist innovators in obtaining the resources required to bring their ideas to life.
One question that researchers should ask before approaching funders is ‘can I make money while solving a societal problem.’ For commercialization, a researcher should first design an impact framework if they need to access funding because this is the first thing that funders and investors look at. This impact framework should be guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and demonstrate an impact of change if the innovation will be successfully commercialized.
SDGs indicators such as climate change, gender equality and environmental change should guide your cause. Impact framework depends on the industry that the innovation is focused on. Every industry has its own impact metrics. To aid the researcher in designing an impact framework, he/she should use an SDGs tool to help them design one.
In preparation for funding, researchers should ask themselves some essential questions:
Clearly defining the research objective is vital. Researchers should articulate the purpose of their study, including its significance, potential impact, and relevance to the field. A well-defined objective provides a strong foundation for securing funding and convinces funding agencies or institutions about the project's value.
Understanding the scope of the research is essential for planning and budgeting. Researchers should determine the specific boundaries and limitations of their study, including the target population, geographic area, or specific research question. This helps to identify the required resources and estimate the project's duration.
Researchers should consider the broader impact of their work beyond the academic community. They should identify the potential beneficiaries, such as policy-makers, industry professionals, or the general public. Additionally, outlining a dissemination plan, including strategies for publication, conferences, workshops, and public engagement, showcases the researcher's commitment to knowledge dissemination and impact.
Identifying potential risks and challenges is crucial in preparing for funding. Researchers should evaluate the possible obstacles that could hinder the project's progress or success. They should also propose mitigation strategies to address these risks effectively. Demonstrating awareness of potential challenges and having contingency plans instills confidence in funders regarding the project's feasibility and management.
Securing funding is a vital step in transforming research-based innovators' ideas into real-world solutions. Innovators can discover the most appropriate funding sources based on their stage of development, market potential, and funding requirements by studying the funding landscape, which includes grants, venture capital, angel investors, and public-private partnerships. Innovators must carefully examine each alternative, comprehend the accompanying terms and conditions, and modify their strategy accordingly.
Finally, navigating the financing ecosystem and realizing the transformative potential of research-based innovation requires a diverse funding approach and a compelling value proposition.