Catch a TRaM to accelerate impact?

August 16 / 185

Could your research have massive impact? How do you know? Five University of Melbourne research teams have begun their journey to answer this question and accelerate commercial insight into their research as part of the first intake to the TRaM (Translating Research at Melbourne) program.

The program is based at LAB-14, within Carlton Connect (the University of Melbourne’s STEM-led innovation precinct).  Carlton Connect Initiative Project Director Dr. Charlie Day says the TRaM program leverages the talents of the University’s entrepreneurial community, already centred on LAB-14, to support its researchers achieve their impact objectives.

“The TRaM program is based on the US National Science Foundation’s I-CORP’s Lean LaunchPad methodology, and gives teams access to essential resources, including funding, space within LAB-14, structured mentoring and networking, and, crucially, opportunities to also identify and act upon ‘market pull’ for their research,” says TRaM Program Director Dr Simon Wilkins.

Nearly 20 applications by University of Melbourne researchers, spanning six faculties, were considered, with seven teams invited to participate in a two-day bootcamp held at LAB-14 on 14-15 July as part of the selection process. 

The bootcamp was opened by Doron Ben-Meir, Vice Principal (Enterprise) at the University.

“The TRaM bootcamp gives teams a taste of the Lean LaunchPad methodology, the pressures of academic entrepreneurship and the need to ‘get out of the building’ and directly engage with customers to understand their needs and wants.” he says.

The bootcamp itself saw teams recognise the value of the approach, with one team admitting they would never have worked their problem out, without speaking to customers. 

Based on their participation in the bootcamp, five impressive teams have now been selected to participate in the next phase of the TRaM program:

* Team VR – Creating an interactive virtual world (led by Dr Mohsen Kalantari, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering)

* Team What Whitefellas Can Do (Living together respectfully in Victoria) – Supporting lawful relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities (led by Associate Professors Julie Wells and Mark McMillan, Faculties of Law & Arts respectively)

* Team RAPID – A real-time social media data analytics platform (led by Associate Professor Shanika Karunasekera, Department of Computing and Information Systems, Melbourne School of Engineering)

* Team AICR – Preventing and resolving international conflict (led by Associate Professor John Langmore, School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts)

* Team STRUDL – Digital tools to improve cities (Led by Dr Marcus White, Melbourne School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning).

As the teams progress through the program, they will develop and share their insights with the University, including at the TRaM program launch (22-September) and team showcase timed to coincide with Melbourne Innovation week (8-November). Visit the TRaM website for further details 

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