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I: FAQ related to related to H2M services and the webpage

I am not a health researcher, should I use the e-training facility?

The e-training curriculum was developed according to analysis carried out in health researchers' needs, skills and knowledge. The training is tailored to their specific needs and has been optimized targeting this specific audience. Even if it is not optimum for anyone else, it can still prove useful to other researchers too.

I have great results that I want to commercialize, what should I do?

You should check H2M web site to spot upcoming events. You should try to participate at those and let the innovation experts know about your idea and prepare your next steps. Alternatively, you can use the Helpdesk service to ask advice from an innovation expert.

I want to participate to some of the training activities but I do not want to pay for the travel costs myself. Can you help me?

Unfortunately the Health-2-Market budget does not allow money allocations for participants. However, bearing in mind that the high-quality training sessions are for free, spending some money on travel costs is a good investment.

Why should I use Health-2-Market services? I do not envisage commercialization of my results. I enjoy publishing more papers and get more citations.

One of the main reasons a research idea will not be investigated is because there is no available equipment or funding to perform the experiments. We often hear researchers say they have a unique idea but cannot find the funding or the equipment required to explore it. Health-2-Market will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to be a successful businessman and earn more money stemming from your original research. This means that you will be able to personally fund your research and overcome any obstacle money lack can pose.

However, even if you are not tempted by money, there is another reason why you should become a Health-2-Market follower: -Health2-Market is a program funded by the EC and reflects EU's concern for the exploitation of research results. Main health research funding comes from the EU which tries to boost health innovation. Therefore, It can be implied that attention (in terms of financial support) will be drawn to those researchers that have found a way to translate their findings into new business. This means more funding which brings more published papers and citations.

Finally, besides training and support for entrepreneurship, in a broader sense Health-2-Market tries to intrigue and enhance researches interdisciplinary cooperation. This means a wider network and networking awareness for the researchers which can lead to invitations for collaborative research projects and knowledge transfer.

The week long academies seem very intensive and time consuming. What would I gain spending so much time and effort?

The week long academies have been designed with a view to provide an opportunity to health researchers to work side- by-side with renowned practitioners on their individual research results. Guidance and advice from renowned innovation coaches and interaction with experts from diverse innovation fields is invaluable.

Are the provided services really of the high quality you advertise?

The high quality of the provided activities is guaranteed both from the Health-2-Market partners' stature and the EC supervision. Health-2-Market partners have recognized knowledge, dependability, efficiency and capability on national and international level. The project includes companies that have successfully carried out more than 30 collaborative EU projects and thousands of national individual entrepreneurial projects, business schools included at EU and international top-10 rankings and specialized initiatives in user-related data analysis, web training and networking.

Also, the Health-2-Market project is a coordination and support action, funded under the EC FP7-HEALTH programme, which is continuously monitored by the EC to ensure high-standard in cooperation/organization and in the delivery of its activities and services.

II: FAQ related to the e-training platform

Who can use the Health-2-Market e-training course?

The e-training targets mainly researchers in the health, life science field interested to start their own business as well as all other people involved in life science research (e.g. technology transfer officers, incubators staff, etc.). However, anyone can use the training course after registration.

Required background:

No prior health or business knowledge is required. Basic computer skills (Internet browser, flash viewer, video viewer online). Basic information literacy skills (being able to search on the Internet and access/use some basic ICT applications)

Which topics are covered in the frame of the e-training?

In the pilot phase two modules will be available for the participants: Entrepreneurship and Business Planning and Business Ventures & Marketing. The structure of the modules is as follows:

Entrepreneurship and Business Planning

  • Building the scope of the project
  • Designing the Business Model of the project
  • Structuring the Business Plan
  • Financial forecasts and completed pitched Business plan
Business Ventures & Marketing
  • Creativity & Commercializing Technology
  • Understanding Marketing Dynamics & What is YOUR Market?
  • Integrated Marketing Tactics
  • Integrated Marketing Strategy

What does the e-training material consists of?

The Health-2-Market e-learning course consists of presentations, quizzes and case studies to support the establishment of new businesses.

How much does the e-training cost?

The modules are available free of charge after registration to thanks to the support of the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union.

How can I register?

You need to fill in a short registration. After registration you will receive a confirmation e-mail and you can access the e-training modules.

Can I get a certificate at the end of the e-training course?

We are not able to provide certificate to the e-training participants.

III: FAQ related to e-learning material

How can you find out about end-user needs?

There are several ways that fall into three main categories: talk to them, talk to people who know them, or read about them. In talking to people you can use informal discussions and more formal interviews, focus groups, and surveys. In reading about them you can use roadmaps, articles in trade journals, blogs, and the like.

When is cold calling advisable and what are the two things that make cold calling much easier?

Cold calling is always advisable when you do not know people in relevant targets (e.g. companies, organizations, etc.), or do not have connections to someone via networking. Without speaking to these persons, you cannot assess if they will be interested in for example acquiring the technology or in financing your company and what information they would like to have to make a decision.

The two things that make cold calling easier are: Starting higher up in the organization with someone whose job definition likely includes managing people who scan the horizon for new technologies and having a specific name to ask for when you reach the target's receptionist.

I am currently a researcher in a public institution. What will become my status once I commercialize my research results?

There are different ways of commercialization and your status will depend upon which you chose. The status may also differ from one country to another. A local incubator should be able to advise you.

  • If you protect your research results through a patent whilst staying at your current post (e.g. in a university or public research center), no change should occur. Check however for the Intellectual Property Rights for such commercialization activity. Health-2-Market offers specific trainings and advanced services on IPR related topics.
  • If you create a company, you'd become an entrepreneur – you will have to register your company at the respective office (the Chamber of Commerce can advise you where and how to do so), your status will depend on your country. Indeed, the status of a public researcher differing from country to country, in some you might be able to be placed on reserve in the public service for some time (e.g. in France). This would mean you keep your status of "public servant/official", but can benefit of some free time to create your company. Make sure you check the conditions in your country. Health-2-Market offers specific trainings on entrepreneurship related topics.
  • If you wish to commercialize your research results through business creation without losing your position and without having to take over the role of entrepreneur / managing director, you can consider two other solutions:
    • Find a suitable business developer having the skills to create a company (business plan development, market analysis, etc.). You could remain associated to the project in the position of a Scientific Director for instance. Health-2-Market offers an advanced service on "teambuilding / matchmaking".
    • You might consider licensing of your research results/idea to a company instead of creating one yourself.

I have a great idea. What questions should I consider before creating a business and where can I get answers?

The main questions you should consider are related to the following fields:

  1. Viability/ marketability of the idea: is the idea really innovative (publications, existing property rights?), is there a market, which would pay and how much in order to buy your product, etc.
  2. Financial questions: what capital and/or proper funds are needed, how to get access, what are the rules of co-financing when applying for public funds, etc.
  3. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): who owns the right after patenting; at what stage should you protect your results through a patent, etc.
  4. Administrative issues: where to register your enterprise, what are the conditions, etc.
  5. Regulations / standardization: which regulations apply for which product, etc. (in Europe, the EC rules apply, but they are different for "health" products vs. "cosmetics", "nutrition", etc.)
  6. Logistics: where and how to get use of material that is needed for the development, e.g. a laboratory, instruments, etc.

The different steps of getting advise can generally be listed as:

  • Your internal office (inside your university, research center, etc.): they have the skills and experience to assist you testing the marketability of your idea, answer IPR related questions, give information on finances, regulations, etc.
  • An incubator: once your idea can be considered viable, the valorization office would redirect you to an appropriate incubator. The incubator’s role is to accompany you in further steps (advise, eventually match-making with someone having complementary skills for a business creation, provision with or access to an office/laboratory space, etc.)

My research results are not quite ready for market deployment yet. Isn’t it a bit too early for me to start working on a business plan?

The earlier the better! History is filled with examples of inventions and research results that never made it to the market due to faulty business plans that were prepared at the last minute. The sooner you start working on your business plan, the sooner you will start talking the commercialization language, evaluating the feasibility of the venture and reconsidering your assumptions as you will have to examine, in depth, various aspects of the business planning process such as market of operation, target customers, competition, problems which must be overcome in order for the plan to be fulfilled, etc. The early composition of an effective business plan will considerably raise the chances for successful market deployment of your research results serving as a roadmap for your future entrepreneurial endeavor. We advise you to browse through our website to see how Health-2-Market can help you prepare an effective business plan for the commercial exploitation of your research results.

I realize the importance of a business plan for the commercialization of my research results but I do not think I can do this alone. Is Health-2-Market able to help me with this task?

YES! Acknowledging the vital role that an effective business plan plays in new commercial ventures, Health-2-Market can assist you by offering the "Business Plan Formulation" advanced service. With this service, experienced professionals from the Health-2-Market team will work with you in order to translate your ideas into a comprehensive business plan for successful commercial deployment or access to capital. In close collaboration with you we will make sure that the business plan thoroughly assesses and demonstrates in a rigorous manner the commercial viability of the proposed venture while making the necessary adaptations to suit the target group and purpose of the plan (e.g. banks, venture capital, own strategy, etc.). Information on how you can access this service is available in the Health-2-Market website.

How can market research contribute to the commercial exploitation of my research?

Market research is the standard tool for the development of an effective evidence-based marketing strategy and ultimately for the successful market deployment of your research outcomes. It will provide the foundations for a sound marketing plan revealing valuable insights about the market environment of the proposed venture such as possible areas of application, prospective customer groups and needs, competitors, channels of distribution etc. A professional market research study can provide real marketing intelligence, a necessary block for a convincing marketing plan that can give the competitive edge for most commercial objectives.

What is marketing exactly and how can a marketing strategy help me commercialize my research results?

Marketing is the art of delivering successful products and services to the market. Many people often erroneously confuse marketing with advertising. In reality, marketing is a broad organizational function that envelops almost everything a company does to reach its target audience including pricing, sales, distribution, promotional efforts and advertising among others. The adoption of an effective marketing strategy will enable you to realize the full potential of the commercial exploitation of your research results by emphasizing on the in depth understanding of the market environment (with special focus on competitors and customers) in order to properly position your products and services in the market.

I have designed a medical device I plan to put in the European market. Does the company producing the device have to be ISO 9001 certified?

NO. ISO 9001 certification is voluntary. Of course, sometimes it is a business necessity since many customers (from the private and public sector) require possessing such a certificate. What is mandatory for the product to circulate within the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland is to be CE marked. The basic legislation consists for medical devices’ CE marking is (i) medical device Directive, 93/42/EEC, (ii) in vitro diagnostic medical devices Directive 98/79/EC and (iii) active implantable devices Directive 90/385/EEC.

I know that the medical device I have designed has to be CE marked so that it can be sold in Europe. Can Health-2-Market help me with the procedures I have to follow?

YES. Health-2-Market has designed advanced services that suit your need, i.e. "Support for implementing EU legislation and Quality Management Systems for medical devices". Our services consist in analyzing the nature (basic characteristics and intended use) of the medical device under question, classifying it according to the directives’ classification, determining the applicable directives / standards / requirements and providing a roadmap (i.e. procedure, costs, time schedules, main production requirements, certification process etc.) for the appropriate assessment / certification route.

I want to commercially exploit my research results but the composition of a business plan seems like an arduous task that will steal precious time away from my research. Why should I waste my time writing a business plan?

The development of a business plan may, indeed, require a lot of work. However, preparing a business plan is hardly a waste of time. In fact, it will more likely help you with your exploitation efforts rather than hinder the progress of your research. While the principal objective is typically to construct a compelling case to secure financing (e.g. Venture Capital, grants, bank loans etc.) the plan can also serve as the blueprint of your commercial venture and will most probably follow you throughout your entrepreneurial course as it encompasses all aspects of the business planning process such as vision declaration, mission statement and strategy alongside with sub-plans to cover marketing, operations, human resources, financing as well as a plan for IPR and regulatory aspects. Therefore, in its final form it will essentially serve as a comprehensive operating manual towards the achievement of your objectives. In other words, the business plan is effectively the first sales brochure of your new product or service and investing your time to prepare one is as necessary as the need for patents and publications at a scientific journal.

I have already prepared a business plan. However, I do not think it is good enough to secure the financing I need to commercialize my product. What can Health-2-Market do for me?

Health-2-Market has developed the "Business Plan Evaluation" service especially for you. The Health-2-Market team will scrutinize your business plan in order to provide effective advice and constructive recommendations to improve and further customize the plan to your specific business needs and target audience (e.g. banks, Venture Capital, grants etc.). We encourage you to check the Health-2-Market website to find out how you can gain access to this advanced service.

How can patent information be used to map out collaboration partners and/or competitors in relation to your own innovation?

The legal documents that are required in Intellectual Property Rights contain information that can be useful in business analyses. An example is using patent document information in mapping out positions, where you can use the following data:

  • Filing date
  • Patent classes (in what technical areas the invention is in)
  • Assignee (the owner of invention)
  • Inventor
  • Patent type (i.e. product, process or application patent)
  • Geographical coverage
  • Citations

These factors can be mixed in many ways to reach a satisfying analysis but in the question above, the common way to do it is to start with searching for patents in the same classification of your own invention to get a bulk of patents to start with. From that bulk, you limit the search by adding keywords (important parts of the invention. For example the keyword "plastic" if you are having a plastic bag invention in the "packaging container" classification) until you have a satisfying new bulk of patents (by checking samples in the bulk). You could now say that the patents you have got in the new bulk are the ones in field of your invention.

You could then, by using the data in the bullet points, map different analysis where some examples are:

  • Filed patent per year and assignee. This shows how active a company is in the field of your invention. Maybe it was very active in the 1990s but has completely changes research areas? Or has one company had a boost the last two years? This map is probably the most relevant one for this question.
  • Filed patents per countries and assignee. This shows what strategy potential partners/ competitors have in what markets them aiming at. Are they leaving China for Russia in the last three years?

Inventor in relation to assignee and year. This shows if there are any key inventors in the field of your invention. Do one company have one person that is crucial? Have an inventor changed employer over time?

How can IP and IPR be used as tools to control innovations?

When deciding how to create the strongest control over innovation one needs to consider the dual nature of IPRs. On one hand, Intellectual Property Rights convey exclusive rights of the owner to use one’s intangible assets. On the other hand, in order to obtain effective protection you need to make certain parts of the innovation public (e.g. patent applications and designs are published). Another thing to consider is that the IPRs are limited in time of protection (with the exception for trademarks).

When establishing a strong control position in relation to you innovation you need to define what needs to be protected and then select a correct form of protection. Patents protect inventions as solutions to specific technical problems, copyright protects creative works, trademarks protect business identities, and design rights protect appearance of the product. An innovation may often contain more elements than, merely a patentable invention, and include, for example, databases, software algorithms, written instructions, established reputation, etc. The best control is reached when different types of IP protection are combined. Think, for example, about the IP protection for generic drugs: the essential patents have expired long ago whereas; the pharmaceutical companies are still able to control their products through extensive trademark protection. As some building blocks of innovation protected by IPR become public it is necessary to complement their scope of protection with other intellectual assets that could be kept in-house, for example trade secrets.