By Phllip Jessop, Ph.D., Technical Director, GreenCentre Canada
More and more green chemistry technologies are being invented at the chemistry and chemical engineering departments of universities, but far too few of those technologies actually make it to market. The problem is the commercialization gap: industry expects more than academics can deliver. Industry usually wants technologies that are proven to be scalable, optimized for specific applications, synthesized on a kg scale, and largely de-risked. Academics can’t deliver that. So, without intervention, academic discoveries fail to make it to market.
Recognizing this problem, the Canadian and Ontario governments funded the creation of a non-profit organization, GreenCentre Canada, in 2009, to help green chemistry technologies overcome the commercialization gap.
GreenCentre, a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research and a member of the Ontario Network of Excellence, takes a “hands on” approach to commercializing green chemistry innovations originating from academia and industry. Technologies sent to GreenCentre are assessed for their commercial potential (economics, strength of the IP position, competing products) and their estimated environmental impact compared to current technologies. Those technologies that look strong in all categories are in-licensed, then developed, de-risked, and scaled up in GreenCentre’s labs, and finally presented, as a strong business case, to industry. GreenCentre’s collaboration with industry partners combined with their real world experience in product, application and business development, intellectual property management, and scale-up manufacturing, offers researchers and entrepreneurs the expertise and resources they need to advance their technologies to market. For industry, GreenCentre offers a “one-stop shop” to Canada’s best chemistry and material science technologies, offering convenient access to intellectual property and a suite of technical, business and IP related services.
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