Commercializing physics: turning ideas into products

In a series of video reports, our sister site has been looking at what it takes to commercialize scientific research. After visiting flexible electronics start-up MC10, the team caught up with Stan Reiss of Matrix Partners to continue the discussion.

In the interview, Reiss, a venture capitalist, describes the funding options that are open to university start-ups and the things that founders should focus on to attract further investment. Building on this, he looks at the skill set that’s typically required to translate discoveries from the lab to the market.

In his experience, researchers tend to underestimate the amount of time that it takes to fully develop a product. Reiss also points out that the iterative nature of product development won’t appeal to everyone.

Focusing on specific sectors, he sees lots of opportunities coming out of materials research thanks in part to advances in computer modelling, which make it easier to tailor materials properties.

Related content from the journal Translational Materials Research (TMR)
From the VC desk: Striking a balance on focusTransl. Mater. Res. 1 010202 (2014)

Related stories on TMR+
MC10 declares that the future of electronics is flexible
Materials by design: NIST announces consortium to speed up time from discovery to first commercial use

Materials by design: NIST announces consortium to speed up time from discovery to first commercial use

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has selected a consortium led by Northwestern University to establish a new NIST-sponsored center of excellence for advanced materials research. The new Center for Hierarchical Materials Design (CHiMaD) will be funded in part by a $25 million award from NIST over five years.

Other members of the CHiMaD consortium include –

The University of Chicago,
The Northwestern-Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering
The Computation Institute (a partnership between the University of Chicago and Argonne)

And the project also involves –

QuesTek Innovations (a small business spin-off of Northwestern University)
ASM International
Fayetteville State University

“The launch of this new center represents a major milestone in support of the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) and our national goal of doubling the pace of discovery and development of novel materials,” said Cyrus Wadia, assistant director for Clean Energy and Materials R&D at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

As NIST points out in the announcement, it’s estimated that the average time from laboratory discovery of a new material to its first commercial use can take up to 20 years. The US MGI aims to halve that.

Read the full story on NIST Tech Beat.

Other resources on the web

Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering (IOPscience)