Industry Collaboration

As TMOS propels forward in its pursuit of groundbreaking research, it’s crucial to underscore the pivotal role industry collaboration plays in translating academic endeavours into real-world applications and successful commercial outcomes. The journey from research to reality hinges on the ability to bridge the gap between academia and industry, and it’s a journey I see TMOS approaching with fervour and dedication.

In the realm of transformative technologies, such as meta-optics, the convergence of academic and industrial goals can be intricate, often stretching over a decade from discovery to market. As I noted in my Capability Papers essay, “Leveraging decades of photonics research investment,” Australia’s photonics research landscape is robust, yet the transformation of this ‘deep tech’ research into commercially viable products necessitates a concerted effort on an international scale.

To achieve research outcomes of global significance, we must adopt a collaborative approach to research that not only prioritizes requisite skill sets but also nurtures to achieve research outcomes of global significance, we must adopt a collaborative approach to research that not only prioritizes requisite skill sets but also nurtures entrepreneurial acumen and a profound understanding of industry dynamics.

Collaboration with industry partners is imperative to identify and address pertinent industry challenges and ensure that research discoveries can be developed into tangible solutions that drive economic growth and societal benefit.

If we are to continue to build TMOS’s research capability, then we also need to demonstrate the value generated through the commercialisation of ideas, processes and devices developed by the researchers within TMOS. This requires an alignment of research capability and skill-sets with industry needs – not just to solve today’s problems, but also to address clearly defined opportunities within a 3-5 year window. To achieve this calls for an interdisciplinary mindset, effective communication, relationship-building prowess, and a keen eye for entrepreneurial opportunities. We live in a globalised market place so establishing strong relationships with potential end-users and industry partners, both locally and internationally is a pre-requisite for success.

TMOS has committed to fostering a collaborative ecosystem that bridges the chasm between fundamental research and industry application. By actively listening to the needs and challenges articulated by our industry partners, and by proactively searching out potential customers and partners across the globe, TMOS can
leverage its research to not only address industry needs but also propel Australia to the forefront of the global meta-optics revolution.

To students and researchers of TMOS, I offer the following guidance:
• Cultivate interdisciplinary skills: Embrace diverse perspectives and seek opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning.
• Learn about what an industry needs: Listen to what they’re saying, identify the problems that matter most and explore avenues to align your research with their requirements – not just immediately but over the next 3-5 years.
• Master the art of communication: Learn to tell a story around your research – how it started, what it is, and where it’s going.
• Be proactive in building meaningful relationships: Engage with industry on their territory e.g. at trade shows (Photonics West, OFC, etc) and seize networking opportunities with people outside of your speciality.
• Think like an entrepreneur: Explore the commercial potential of your research and envision pathways for scaling and market integration.

By embracing these principles, you not only position yourselves for success within TMOS but also equip yourselves to lead the charge in advancing photonic technologies for generations to come. Remember, TMOS stands steadfast in its commitment to supporting your journey every step of the way, offering resources, mentorship, and access to a global network of collaborators.

Simon Poole
TMOS Advisory Board Member

About the author/s

Simon Poole AO FAA FTSE

Dr Simon Poole AO, FAA, FTSE, FIEEE, FIEAust is an internationally recognised engineer, scientist, and entrepreneur. Simon has an outstanding track record as a research leader and entrepreneur. The first two companies he has founded (Indx, Engana) have both had extremely successful trade-sale exits, ... more