Intellectual Property & the Next Generation of Innovators


Published 26th April 23

By Isadora Sinha – PhD Student, Cardiff University and Commercialisation Intern, Ploughshare

Why did you choose Ploughshare for your internship?

I am currently studying for a PhD in Medicine and as part of my doctoral training programme, I am undertaking a three-month placement in a non-academic setting. During my time at university, I have met with biotechnology specialised patent attorneys, and have enjoyed learning about how research translates over to real-world applications and impact. This initial taste led me to want to learn more about commercialisation and IP, and Ploughshare was the perfect fit for this!

So far on my internship, I have learnt about how Ploughshare moves a technology (from various technology readiness levels) through their framework into either a spin-out or a licensing agreement. This included having the chance to mock-up a net present value estimation, which was an incredible learning experience. I have also learned about various IP rights and have started to get a better understanding of the nuances around this area.

What first sparked your interest in the commercialisation of IP?

As I became interested in IP, and being on the research side of academia, I became curious as to how all the lab work done by researchers gets turned into real world applications. When working on a PhD project, or any long project, you become focused on your area of research. It is fantastic to be able to zoom out and see the bigger picture of what every researcher who chips away at a problem has been part of, leading to inventions which then go on to address real-word needs.

In the health and wellbeing side of commercialisation, this often translates to lives saved and the quality of lives increased. I have always been driven by positively impacting people’s lives and health, and that is something which is also part of commercialisation at Ploughshare – which is why this was my first choice for an internship, and I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity.

Why is the commercialisation of Intellectual Property (IP) important?

Commercialisation is the process of transferring technology from a piece of IP (defined by the UK Intellectual Property Office as: ‘any form of original creation that can be bought or sold’) into the market as a product that suits the needs of the end users.

This is crucial for a number of reasons, including:

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far?

The learning curve has been steep coming from pure academia, where one does not think of market needs nor the end user. Adapting my current knowledge to a framework which is broader and utility-focused, rather than research-focused, has been an enjoyable challenge.

What are you enjoying the most?

The aspects I enjoy the most are learning about new technologies and the potential impact they will have on society, as well as starting to get a better foundational knowledge of the intricacies of IP.

Working with IP is proving to be varied, interesting, and fast-paced, and it delivers real, tangible, positive impact to the world. I also hope that with the spread of women in IP, we will see the IP gender gap continue to decrease.

What will be your biggest takeaway from your time at Ploughshare?

How important technology transfer and commercialisation is for the UK economy and the positive impact it has. I have also gained a better understanding of how inventors, patent attorneys, commercialisation managers and others all cohesively work together to get a product soundly to market.

In addition, at Ploughshare I have seen how a healthy, diverse and inclusive company culture that encourages authenticity means that employees are enthusiastic and more productive, as energy is not wasted trying to ‘fit in’; everyone feels accepted, enabling them to flourish.