30 November 2020
Pictured (L-R): MTPConnect's Director Stakeholder Engagement WA Dr Tracey Wilkinson, UWA Director Biomedical Innovation Professor Kevin Pfleger, MTPConnect MD & CEO Dr Dan Grant, gemaker Communications Specialist Rebecca Colless and BioComm Squared CEO Dr Andy Gearing, presenting at the November webinar.
A fortnight ago, we hosted our most popular seminar this year with hundreds of participants zooming in to the session ‘Show Me the Money: Tips for Preparing Successful Commercialisation Funding Applications’.
There were some great insights shared by our speakers – Rebecca Colless a Communications Specialist at gemaker, Professor Kevin Pfleger, the Director of Biomedical Innovation from the University of Western Australia (UWA), Dr Andy Gearing the CEO at BioComm Squared and Dr Dan Grant, MTPConnect’s Managing Director & CEO.
Ms Colless spoke of the science and art behind lifting the quality of applications and using a SMART project plan to back up your commercialisation strategy. She also outlined some important screening tips to check off and the use of storytelling concepts like the ‘hero’s journey’ to frame a story, all captured in her slide presentation.
“It’s important to tell a charming story. Don’t write your application like a scientific paper. Avoid jargon, specialist acronyms and don’t make it too dense with facts and figures. That evidence is important but you also have to weave it into a story, a narrative about why this is happening.
“Our brains are hardwired… to pay attention and remember stories. It’s the emotional impact of a good story that makes it memorable. So, you need to build some emotion in. Use storytelling principles, start with a hook, make the story relatable using real people, make it interesting by including challenges and conflicts. Use the active voice and end with hope or a resolution like a call to action,” Ms Colless said.
Dr Gearing outlined his experience as a grant reviewer and what he looks for when reading and critiquing an application.
“I go into a grant and read the grant application in full fairly quickly to try and get a view of the narrative and I go through it initially looking for ‘good’. I’m trying to look for what the applicant is trying to do that is positive, is it a good idea and I [try] and take an optimistic view of their approach.” Dr Gearing said.
Professor Pfleger addressed the importance of getting a commercialisation application right and involving partners.
“Commercialisation applications are all about alignment of industry partners and the academic research environment. Think about the question - can you as an academic with your research skills and your talents in your team, really appreciate the needs and get outcomes for that company?
“This is about milestones, timeliness and achieving an aim so that a company can develop further,” Professor Pfleger said.
Dr Grant shared his experience of securing grants and reviewing funding applications and how he looks for substance in a successful submission.
“So, I think for me the success in writing grants and securing grant funding is all about the story. It's about making sure that you can demonstrate the value that your grant is going to produce. If a reviewer struggles to get the story in the first few paragraphs, it’s unlikely they will ever get the story. It’s about what differentiates you and if you can write that well, then I think you have a good chance of standing out in all the other applications.
“Also think about who your partners are early on. Applications that are really strong have strong partners, picked across the whole country. Don’t leave that collaboration piece to the end, that process can take months to bring together,” Dr Grant said.