The project summary / client description
For over a hundred years Aberystwyth University has been active in the field of oat breeding and research. The Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) has been responsible for the introduction of a wide range of oat varieties. Recently the university was awarded £4.9M, five year project called QUOATS (Quality Oats) funded by the BBSRC, Defra, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Government to develop improved varieties of oats. Aberystwyth’s long history in this field had enabled the university to collect significant amounts of data on different kinds of oats and in particular the chemical composition of different varieties. The University wanted to investigate the commercial potential for this knowledge of oat plants
Project objectives / challenge
Building a business model around accessing a database is challenging – especially for a database limited to highly specific and specialist content. The University needed a rapid assessment of the potential applications of the technology and routes to yielding commercial revenues from the database.
Qi3 proposed to address the market opportunity assessment through its novel Ask The Experts approach. In this approach Qi3 performed desk research into target market sectors in order to identify the potential applications of oats as a source of chemicals, and then produce a short list of experts from these sectors for interview. The results of the interviews were then analysed utilising Qi3’s proprietary commercialisation models, and finally a set of actionable recommendations and next steps were made to the University.
Outcome / End results
Qi3’s work identified the most appropriate business model for the university to commercially exploit the value of the database. This observation was further backed up by a set of follow up actions that will allow the University to pursue various routes to market.
“We commissioned Qi3 to undertake a sense test on the commercial potential for data based on chemical composition of oat crops using its ‘Ask the Experts’ approach. This involved a careful redefinition of the key questions to be addressed, following which Qi3 delivered a brief but insightful report, including the perspectives of five domain experts within days. ‘Ask the Experts’ should be a useful early triage for commercialisation projects in University commercialisation offices.