Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists are also inventors and the Scripps history is rich with innovative intellectual property. Scripps inventions include instrument platforms capable of testing industry compliance with CO2 regulation, remotely operated underwater gliders, and autonomous drifters that span the globe measuring Earth’s vital signs.
The Scripps Venture Partners Program focuses on intellectual property and specific Scripps research projects that have direct commercial application. We are working with many different departments inside UC San Diego such as the Technology Transfer Office and the Von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement at the Jacobs School of Engineering as well as UC San Diego's Rady School of Management.
Campus innovation cannot successfully commercialize without guidance from market experts and private investment. Scripps works with profit-oriented investment firms that are also specifically committed to bring university innovations to market. Venture partners contribute significant consulting time and business coaching services to Scripps. They evaluate Scripps technology/research then reach out to analyze the market demand and identify potential linkages. Once research and market demand are linked, Scripps empowers a "research champion" (from within Scripps) to work with a "commercial champion" (which may come from outside UCSD) and develop a business plan. If the business plan presents an acceptable economic framework for investment – venture partners may commit their own capital to launch a private “spin-off” venture. Venture partners also engage their personal and professional networks to assist with start-up planning and early stage investing in Scripps spin-outs.
This model was proven effective in a year-long pilot program that partnered Scripps along side SEAR Technologies. SEAR Technologies is an investment firm primarily concerned with solving the strain on our world’s resources and SEAR investments develop technological solutions for resource management, conservation, monitoring, and verification. SEAR's managing partners contributed over 300 hours in consulting time and business coaching services during the first half of 2010. They worked with Scripps and identified two specific areas where science meets the market. Then, we jointly developed business plans to address the intersection. These plans were vetted through SEAR as well as the von Leibig Center, UCSD Technology Transfer and the Rady School of Management. As a result, we expect two new San Diego companies to emerge from Scripps in the last half of 2010.
As an example, intellectual property developed by the Scripps Partnership for Hazards and Environmental Applied Research is serving as the basis for one of the two start-up ventures and recently won a $50,000 competitive grant from the San Diego Clean Tech Innovation and Commercialization Program. The program is a partnership between the city of San Diego, UC San Diego’s von Liebig Center, San Diego State University, Clean Tech San Diego, and UC San Diego’s Sustainable Solutions Institute. The grant will be utilized to accelerate the commercialization of Scripps research as part of the city’s goal to promote the growth of the local clean tech industry.
There are many additional “seeds" in the Scripps pipeline. These are less mature yet still very exciting and require development for future venture partners. Scripps is actively seeking venture partners to work with us to identify the next commercial opportunities.