Developments in Deep Tech

By Julia Bauer, Project Manager, accent Inkubator

Did you know that despite Europe’s leading role in research, only a fraction of groundbreaking technologies reach the market? The DT Launch Pad project led by Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) aims to change that. In a world where technological innovations set the pace, Europe faces the challenge of turning research results into market-ready solutions. This initiative is designed to support the European Deep Tech community through comprehensive support services, talent development within partner universities, international knowledge exchange, and fostering start-ups.

The DT Launch Pad project is currently immersed in Work Package 2, focusing on research and asset mapping. This phase is crucial for laying a strong foundation for future work packages. The primary objective here is to advance the understanding of the needs of the Deep Tech community in Europe, particularly at Higher Education Institution (HEI) partner institutions. A comprehensive methodology pack and detailed guidelines for research activities were prepared to ensure all partners were aligned on the tasks ahead. Secondary research activities, including a literature review and asset mapping, investigate the Deep Tech context, commercialisation processes, barriers, enablers, and support needed for talent development. Partners conducted this research at both European and regional levels.

These primary research activities engage with Deep Tech experts and educators through interviews and roundtable discussions. These conversations provide invaluable insights into the commercialisation process, required skills, and the current support structures available. All these findings are being synthesized to develop detailed reports on the European and regional status of Deep Tech commercialisation, as well as a needs analysis for Deep Tech entrepreneurs.

Looking ahead, the DT Launch Pad consortium is committed to sustaining the project’s impact long after the initial funding period. The insights gained from the literature review and asset mapping will help HEIs understand the unique aspects of Deep Tech commercialisation. This understanding will enable them to develop specialised training programmes tailored to the needs identified in WP2 and equip students and staff with the necessary skills to innovate in Deep Tech.

Benefits for Higher Education Institutions and Students

HEIs will benefit immensely from the DT Launch Pad project. By identifying current barriers and enablers, they can focus their resources on areas with the highest potential for impact, thus strengthening their research output. Offering state-of-the-art training and resources will make HEIs more attractive to prospective students and researchers, fostering a culture of innovation. For students and early-stage researchers, WP2’s primary and secondary research activities will identify the skills and support structures necessary for them to thrive. Comprehensive training programmes designed to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and practical entrepreneurial skills will help students turn their innovative ideas into successful start-ups. By connecting with industry experts and established entrepreneurs, students will gain invaluable insights and support to navigate the challenges of Deep Tech commercialisation.

The data and insights from WP2 will also provide policymakers with a better understanding of the current state of Deep Tech commercialisation and the specific needs of the sector. Using evidence-based insights, policymakers can develop strategies and policies that support innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth in the sector. By understanding the barriers and enablers, policymakers can create an ecosystem that fosters Deep Tech innovation, ensuring that regulatory and financial frameworks are supportive.

Opportunities for Entrepreneurs and Investors

For established Deep Tech entrepreneurs and investors, the findings from WP2 will highlight emerging trends and opportunities within the sector. This will help them to identify investment opportunities and make informed decisions about where to allocate resources. The project will create a pipeline of well-prepared, innovative talents ready to collaborate and bring fresh perspectives to existing enterprises.

Crucially, the project will culminate in the development of the ‘Deep Tech to Market Services’ pack. This pack will provide tailored support services, mentorship, and resources necessary for Deep Tech ventures to transition from concept to market-ready products. Additionally, DT Launch Pad plans to launch an interactive platform to facilitate continuous collaboration among Deep Tech stakeholders and offer a space for networking, resource sharing, and ongoing education.

To ensure the sustainability of the DT Launch Pad initiative, a series of fundraising events are planned. These events will bring together investors, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs to foster partnerships and secure funding for the next stages of the project. These gatherings will not only provide financial support but also create opportunities for stakeholders to exchange ideas and drive the future of Deep Tech innovation.

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