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How to bridge the gap between R&D and engineering

Research in materials science fuels innovations for a number of end markets and sectors, from medical applications that improve lives around the world, to aerospace travel that takes earth’s inventions beyond the horizon.

Due to this widespread impact, it’s important that any great material and application designs are implemented into the real-world environment to ensure everyone can benefit from such innovations. However, many scientists and researchers struggle to get a materials concept to move beyond the R&D stage and into the marketplace.

Why do concepts get stuck in R&D?

Whether it’s being preoccupied with patents and collaborations, or simply lacking the manpower in team numbers needed to push an idea from research to market, the reality is that the stage between research-based innovation and commercialisation in the marketplace is difficult for many to navigate.

This stage, sometimes referred to as ‘the valley of death’, can see the end of many well-researched, much-needed ideas and innovations. It’s at this point that companies have to outline and justify the time, assets and cost investments needed to scale up production enough to place a product on the market. Even if these terms are agreed upon, the process itself can take up to ten years! Hence why it’s considered a huge barrier, even for those that will eventually get to launch a product to market.

How can industry bridge the gap?

Ample funding is the most effective way to help. A well-funded company will have more resources allocated to enabling an idea to move from concept to reality.

Large companies and organisations will sometimes provide ‘road-through funding’ to smaller companies that have an innovation that could have positive impacts on an industry. With that in mind, our advice for smaller researchers is to always look into funding options for your projects to see what help is available. It’s fantastic to see the scientific community come together and work in unison to overcome ‘the valley of death’ – and the good news is, it happens fairly often.

How can Goodfellow help?

Here at Goodfellow, our work focuses on bridging the gap by commercialising new materials. Besides this, we will always collaborate with our customers as much as possible, from advice on material selection to the best production method.

We also help start-up companies or researchers by providing the required quantity of materials in a cost- and time-effective way, as saving time and money early in a project means more resources for later stages.

If you’d like to learn more about how Goodfellow can help with your research project, please contact the team