How we commercialise

Commercialisation is perceived by some as an activity limited only to those that are interested in becoming wealthy. This is a fallacy. Commercialisation is actually the process of introducing new products or services into the market. Whether this is to make a profit, or not-for-profit, this depends on the business model. Ultimately, the fundamental business principles underying a profit or not-for-profit company are essentially the same in order for that company to successfully commercialise its product or service. On the other hand, commercialisation is indeed limited to those who wish to see their research translating into a product or service which can benefit society and the economy.

Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 

TRLs are a method of assessing the maturity of a technology where TRL 1 is equivalent to a basic idea, and TRL 9 describes a market-ready product or process. UKZN InQubate is here to facilitate the progression of your technology to the highest TRLs to ensure maximum commercial deployment. Usually, the technology may not be at a mature enough TRL to approach potential licensees or investors and InQubate will assist with sourcing funding in order to advance the TRL.

Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
TRL 1
Basic idea
TRL 2
Concept developed
TRL 3
Experimental proof of concept
TRL 4
Process validated in laboratory
TRL 5
Process validated in relevant environment
TRL 6
Integrated prototype system verified in relevant environment
TRL 7
Integrated pilot system demonstrated in operational environment environment
TRL 8
Actual System completed and validated through test and demonstration
TRL 9
Proven system and ready for full commercial deployment

There are two models for commercialisation followed at UKZN:

1. The sale (assignment) or licensing of the IP to third parties

2. Establishing separate legal entities called ‘spin-off companies in partnership with the IP inventors and UKZN