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Victoria University taking charge of innovation by offering free tech IP

08 Aug 2016

Victoria University of Wellington is hoping to bring together industry and open source technology to increase local innovations, using the Easy Access IP (EAIP) programme.

The programme provides free and simplistic licenses that allows companies and NGOs to develop technology developed at Victoria University's specialised technology office, Viclink.

The EAIP programme will bring in a select range of free technology or research, available through a new online portal. The programme also presents a one-page standard from transfer agreements, encouraging transparency and easier navigation.

Viclink believes the lower costs and risks will help smaller companies engage in partnerships with lower risk opportunities, which in turn will encourage innovation.

Bianca Grizhar, open innovation manager and project champion, believes the programme will help their existing commercialisation processes, that will ideally allow the university to work with industry partners.

The successful projects will benefit the local economy and Wellington's reputation as a digital tech hub.

Viclink says the EAIP programme will help the university's schools of Architecture and Design and the Engineering and Computer Science to contribute research and technologies to help local companies. While Viclink says this is new territory in unexplored areas, the possibility of open source is 'exciting'.

Viclink has developed a range of innovative technologies in conjunction with companies such as Avalia, Magritek and Boutiq in the past, which have all benefited the local economy.

Viclink says that even successes like these do not hide the fact that many university-developed technologies never make it into production as transfer units.

This, Viclink says, is because of a lack of capital, lack of flexibility, resources and staff, resulting in missed opportunities. Complicated licensing techniques are partly the cause, as the company says it is costly, drawn-out and involves lengthy legal transfer agreements.

In addition, the lack of communication, collaboration and transparency amongst projects has a negative effect on innovation, Grizhar explains.

“Kiwis don’t tend to talk about their successes or the cool things they are working on, which means industry and investors are often unaware of potentially game changing solutions being developed right here," Grizhar adds

EAIP licensees must be able to show how they will create value for society and the economy as a whole. If they have not developed a technology after three years, the university may take ownership and give the opportunity to another partner.

In return, licensees will also have access to other partners, including Australian universities as well as international support and partnerships.