From Research Excellence to Business Relevance...
Creating Social and Economic Growth through Innovation & Industrial Partnerships
One of the three primary outcomes of basic research (in addition to knowledge and highly trained personnel) is economic growth, driven either (a) by the direct application of scientitic breakthroughs to develop new products and services or (b) by the demands that scientific research places on technology to "stretch," thereby improving performance or generating new applications.
The third element of TRIUMF's mission mandates the laboratory to "transfer knowledge" and "commercialize research" for the benefit of Canadians. The laboratory takes this mission seriously and has formulated a strategic approach. Annual progress on this area, termed "business development" by the Government of Canada in the five-year Contribution Agreement, is reported in TRIUMF's Annual Business Development reports.
The term “ technology transfer” is the conventional phrase used to describe the movement of ideas, equipment, and people among institutions of higher learning, the commercial sector, and the public. The conventional approach to technology transfer is now evolving into the broader concept of “ knowledge transfer,” which describes the movement of knowledge, ideas, concepts, and techniques from a formative location (generally an institution of advanced education or a laboratory such as TRIUMF) to all areas of the social and economic environment. Over the years, TRIUMF has increased the number of its partnerships with businesses and organzations (both in Canada and around the world) by applying the concepts of technology and knowledge transfer.
As a joint venture of Canadian universities, TRIUMF is committed to fostering innovation and building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with industry. Moving a technology out the door is no longer sufficient; in some instances, that might be just the beginning of a valuable long-term relationship. And that relationship holds greater value than any one new product.
TRIUMF drives business development and commercialization through three primary channels:
- TRIUMF’s expertise is in demand by companies who are looking to enhance their revenue-generating activities. By selling this expertise, either through licenses or by contracting out employees, TRIUMF not only helps these companies, it increases its own expertise and capabilities. (Example: BWXT Medical)
- TRIUMF trains people in specialized areas of expertise, and these people, in turn, take their expertise work in existing companies or to start new companies. (Example: D-Pace)
- TRIUMF, as a laboratory doing leading-edge research, frequently requires equipment that is not available off-the-shelf but must be developed in conjunction with commercial suppliers. The expertise developed by these suppliers, with TRIUMF’s help, then aids the supplier to generate additional business and, in some cases, significantly increase its bottom line. (Example: PAVAC Industries, Inc.)
Policy on "Work for Others"
The Board of Management has developed a policy statement to control the amount of "contract research" that TRIUMF undertakes. With limited resources and a basic-research mandate, the laboratory uses the following considerations to evaluate involvement in externally-driven projects for innovation and industrial partnership.
- TRIUMF does not generically undertake "work for others" (i.e., work for hire). Exceptions are not prohibited.
- TRIUMF does have a mandate to drive and develop new technology.
- A project with a private-sector partner should be formalized and agreed-to using the TRIUMF Project Management framework if it is above threshold for resource usage.
- A project with a private-sector partner should advance the research of TRIUMF. Licensing the technology would be a natural follow-on, and intellectual property is not generally given away.
Based on these considerations, TRIUMF focuses its innovation and industrial partnership activities in four chief areas:
- Irradiation services. TRIUMF provides beams of energetic protons and neutrons, and what attracts industrial customers is the level of consistent partnership and technical assistance.
- Isotope production and chemistry. TRIUMF’s association with the BC Cancer Agency and BWXT Medical keep this business line innovative and relevant by connecting directly with experts in commercial and clinical applications.
- Technical consulting. External entities seek out TRIUMF’s advice on technical matters and where appropriate, these arrangements are formalized as ongoing partnership interactions with invoiced work packages (subject to the work-for-others policy considerations above).
- Professional training. TRIUMF is fundamentally a research institution and yet the culture of training for excellence permeates the hallways through the fundamental partnerships with Canadian universities. Thus, TRIUMF often organizes training workshops or scientific conferences in collaboration with other organizations.
Together with TRIUMF Innovations, TRIUMF supports several entrepreneurship training opportunities.
Selected Innovation & Industrial Partners
- Advanced Cyclotron Systems, Inc.
- AECL, Inc.
- BC Cancer Agency
- British Columbia Innovation Council
- Burnaby Board of Trade
- BWXT Medical, Ltd.
- Canadian Association of Physicists
- Canadian Institute for Nuclear Physics
- Canadian Light Source, Inc.
- Canadian Space Agency
- Centre for Probe Research and Development
- D-Pace, Inc.
- General Electric
- Institute of Particle Physics
- Jubilant-Draximage, Inc.
- Lawson Health Research Institute
- Ottawa Heart Institute
- Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre
- PAVAC Industries, Inc.
- Perimeter Institute
- Positron Emission Tomography Imaging at UBC
- Science World British Columbia
- Selkirk College
- Shad Valley
- TRIUMF Innovations
- Vancouver Board of Trade
- Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, USA
- Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, USA
- China Institute of Atomic Energy, China
- Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), Hamburg, Germany
- CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
- Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, USA
- GANIL, Caen, France
- Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung mbH (GSI), Darmstadt, Germany
- Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Germany
- High Energy Research Organization (KEK), Tsukuba, Japan
- Institut des Sciences Nucléaires (ISN), Grenoble, France
- Institute for High-Energy Physics (IHEP), Beijing, China
- Institute for Nuclear Research (INR), Russia
- Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Italy
- Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Tokai, Japan
- Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC), Tokai, Japan
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), Berkeley, USA
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, USA
- Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, USA
- Manhattan Isotope Technology, LLC, Lubbock, USA
- Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MEST), Seoul, Korea
- National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL), East Lansing, USA
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, USA
- Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), Switzerland
- Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), UK
- RIKEN Nishina Centre for Accelerator-Based Science, Wako, Japan
- SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, USA
- Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, USA
- Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc.
- UT-Batelle, LLC, USA
- Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata, India