Researchers often have ideas about how their research can benefit society – such as through products, services, or methods – but lack the time to pursue ideas that don’t fit into their everyday work schedule. Launched in 2021, DLN’s Innovation Resource Grant provided one DLN project with 600,000 NOK in salary for one project member to spend 6 months focusing on innovation, together with support from the DLN team and other relevant actors.
The goal was to move the project forward on the innovation readiness (IRL) scale with support from the grant and DLN staff, and to engage the NTNU TTO in further development of the innovation.
Through the six month grant period, researcher and innovation resource Mohammed Sunoqrot lead a deep dive into innovation and commercialisation processes, together with PI Professor Tone Bathen, researcher Mattijs Elschot, and other team members, supported by DLN. Regular meetings helped monitor the progress of the project. DLN worked closely with the NTNU TTO and handed over the project in the last phase of the grant.
In June 2022, the team held the final meeting for the DLN Innovation Resource Grant and reflected on their progress so far.
“DLN provided us with a great consultant (Beate Rygg Johnsen) and a very supportive team to help us execute the project. The project, which started as an experiment to see if such a grant could help elevate the project to a higher technological level (TRL), ended with a remarkable achievement, to say the least,” Mohammed Sunoqrot says.
PROVIZ aims to improve prostate cancer diagnosis using artificial intelligence (AI). The ultimate goal of PROVIZ is to develop a decision support system that combines transparent AI methods, deep learning and model-based imaging features, and clinical information to provide the radiologist with a new set of interpretable tools to more accurately and efficiently detect prostate cancer, differentiate between high-risk and low-risk disease, and target prostate biopsies.
“Because of this project and the great work done at PROVIZ over the past few years, our internally developed models were identified as innovative work and considered for a patent and commercial product material. As a result, close collaboration took place between PROVIZ, DLN, and NTNU TTO, and a patent application was filed. In addition, a series of meetings were held with potential industry partners and product licensees, a targeted product profile was defined, a commercialization plan was developed, funding was raised for front-end development of the product, the TRL was greatly increased, and a technology proof-of-concept study was designed and will be conducted soon. In summary, this grant gave us the push we needed to take our work from theory to practice,“ says Sunoqrot.
Lessons from the Innovation Resource Grant and collaboration with the PROVIZ team will help shape how DLN provides innovation support. Through the project “A roadmap for academic research-intensive innovation" DLN is leading experiments and pilot initiatives to help transition academic ideas from digital biotechnology into value for society. The output of the Roadmap project will be evidence and recommendations that address the gaps and challenges in this innovation ecosystem.