Criteria for evaluation of transfer projects
The described practice is designed to assist in the preliminary
assessment of research-grounded technology projects for their
commercialization potential in the realm of technology transfer.
The process of assessing research projects is necessitated by the high
failure rate, and resulting high cost, of technologies either prior to
reaching the market or once in the market.
The covered Evaluation Criteria are intended to provide guidance for
assessing an idea, a technology or a research project, at an early-stage
of technology transfer (thus prior to product development).
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The evaluation process
Project evaluation may take place at various stages
• Early-stage (proof-of-concept “maturation” towards technology transfer)
• Pre-incubation Incubation
Our focus is Early Stage Project Evaluation, which may appear
• In a continuous manner (or at regular intervals)
• Based on a CFP (Call For Proposal, typically once per year)
Such early stage evaluation covers :
• Evaluation criteria
• A process for the application of these criteria, including the
structure/organization of the evaluation committee
The current practice focuses on recommended Evaluation Criteria
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Coverage/definition of evaluation criteria
Evaluation criteria should cover three main aspects of a project
• Technical aspects
• Market assessment
• Team considerations
Evaluation criteria should be defined and published in advance in order to
allow the evaluated teams to adapt to the process
• Evaluation criteria will be used to establish the overall process, evaluation
documents and the selection committee
Evaluation criteria may be used by the evaluation committee to
• Allocate funds/resources to selected projects
• Provide consultancy to the project team (for example, to coach the team
on aspects considered as “weak”)
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Possible evaluation criteria
• Lots of possible evaluation methods/criteria are
mentioned in the literature
• Several possible groups of criteria :
Originality of the innovation Profile of the inventor Positive ROI/NPV calculations
Scientific return/opportunities for the laboratory Business opportunity Venture value
Project feasibility Market opportunities/threats Regulatory constraints
Potential users IP (protection issues, prior art) Business model
Scientific relevance of the project Lab support Financial return
Team aspects Realism of the announced plan Social & economical impact
Risk management Potential applications Production issues
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Focus on first-stage evaluation criteria
Most important criteria for first-stage evaluation
Positive ROI/NPV calculations
Originality of the innovation Profile of the inventor
Scientific return/opportunities Business opportunity
for the laboratory
Project feasibility Market opportunities/threats
Potential users IP (protection issues, prior art)
Scientific relevance of the Lab support
Social & economical impact
Team aspects Realism of the announced plan
Risk management Potential applications
Deemed premature for 1st stage evaluation
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The DIGITEO example - Global positioning
The OMTE checklist is used for maturation projects
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Timing of the annual call for proposal
→ March : launch of call for proposal/deadline for
Long → April : preselection of 10 projects
→ May: coaching by Digiteo’s marketing team
→ June/July : final application, oral présentation,
deliberation, final decision
Digiteo’s CFP (OMTE)
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From proposal to selection
~ 10 proposals
Preselection classification performed by Digiteo’s scientific
committee and marketing staff
Coaching : work on the three components technology/marketing/IP
submit presentation for the final selection
Selection process :
• External experts (technology transfer specialists from : industry
cluster, incubator, Paris region, OSEO innovation fund, chamber
of commerce, etc.)
• Digiteo’s technology transfer committee
• Formal selection announced by Digiteo’s steering committee
5 projects selected (budget constraints)
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DIGITEO – Method/criteria
Evaluation method :
• Evaluation of the applications according to the 12 criteria
• Individual evaluators may apply assessment scores from 1 to 3 (3 being
Evaluation criteria used for the OMTE call for projects
« Product/technology » aspects
Originality/uniqueness and scientific relevance, project feasibility and opportunities
created for the laboratory.
« Market » aspects
Ongoing research contracts and IP related to the project, first applications and
« Team » aspects
Support of the laboratories in the process, project manager identified to manage
the project, realism of the planning proposed and evaluation of the risks by the
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DIGITEO – « Product » criteria
1. Originality of the innovation
Originality/uniqueness in comparison with state-of-the-art ?
Definition of the future « product » ?
Positioning compared to competitors ?
2. Scientific relevance of the project
Compatibility with the research themes covered by Digiteo ?
Scientific excellence in the field?
Degree of scientific maturation ( is the technology close to a « product ») ?
3. Project Feasibility
Technical feasibility of the project?
Feasibility of the planning, with regard to a transfer?
Description of the transfer model envisaged (transfer to an industrial partner / creation of start-
4. Scientific opportunities created for the laboratory
Consequences of the development on the scientific activities of the lab ?
Future impact of the project on the lab’s strategy ?
Impact on the external communications of the lab?
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DIGITEO – « Market » criteria
5. Ongoing research contracts
Ongoing contracts with industrial partners?
Other contracts/ scientific activities ?
Since when? For how long?
6. Intellectual property (patents, know-how)
Background knowledge of the teams involved ?
Protection envisaged (foreground) for the new knowledge and software derivating from it;
Is an IP analysis requested by the teams (analysis of the prior art, patent landscape and
« freedom to operate ») ?
7. First potential applications
Types/examples of applications ?
Value Proposition (solution to which problem) ?
Applications realised by which kind of company (software company, service provider) ?
8. First potential users
Existing and potential actors/ partners to target for the transfer?
Example of end-user for the integrated solution ?
Draft definition of the targeted market (size, segmentation, competitors) ?
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DIGITEO – « Team » criteria
9. Support of the laboratories
Support of the laboratories involved ?
Balance between the teams involved (complementarity, synergy) ?
Common commitment to a real transfer ?
10. Project manager in charge
Profile of the project manager and implication in the project ?
Capability of managing all aspects of the project, keeping with the transfer objective?
Motivation to handle the 3 aspects : technical, IP, marketing ?
11. Realism of the planning
Realism of the planning with regards to the 3 aspects:
12. Evaluation/ consideration of the risks
Identification and management of the risks :
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DIGITEO - Assessment
Useful tool to be used as a checklist throughout the evaluation process
The final selection has to include the assessment of the presentation made
in front of the jury. Grade given by the jury is based for 50% on written
application and 50% on the oral presentation.
The jury should include a majority of external experts
Final selection : classification/ranking of the presented projects (top 5
Some « Digiteo specifics » not to be considered for a generic checklist
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Pros & Cons
• This practice attempts to formalize • Only a selected number of
methods that are already in use
criteria are highlighted
(most of the time on an ad hoc
basis) • Some criteria may need to
be further developed
• The methodology and associated
tools (call for proposal, criteria,
etc.) are readily available and can
be adapted to each individual case
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• Methodology developed by Digiteo in order to manage the incoming flow of
technology transfer proposals
• Need for a consistent set of criteria for all steps of evaluation process,
communicated transparently to all involved partners : project teams, internal
Digiteo evaluators, “technology transfer coaches” and external experts
• Without this methodology, involved parties would get the impression that
projects might be evaluated/selected based on obscure reasons. This would
leave the doors open for debate, accusations for “unfair competition” and
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Impact : Why is it a good practice?
• The Digiteo community judges this approach transparent, fair and clearly
• We may recommend this approach based on our own experience
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What happened after the implementation :
• The approach turned out as expected
Final selection (with external experts) is based on relative ranking among the
The scoring system is only used for individual evaluation purposes
• However, you also have to manage those projects that were not finally
Debrief the teams that were not selected
Clearly communicate the reasons for not being selected
Focus on things to be improved (and how to improve them)
Encourage them to apply again with an enhanced proposal
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Outcome – plans for the future
Plans for the future?
• The approach should be further developed/detailed :
Definition of terms
Explanation on how to apply each of the listed criteria (with some
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Link to code book
• Technology development/maturation
• Proof of concept
• (Opportunity) assessment
Link to related websites
OMTE call for proposal and projects selected during previous editions:
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