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Karen Fairlie-Clarke – helping scientists bridge the tech “valley of death”

Mar 4, 2021 | Roslin Technologies

In Roslin Tech, our philosophy is very simple –  to gather and evaluate the very best AgTech advances, both internally and from our partners,  and develop that technology into marketable solutions to deliver positive impact on the veterinary and agriculture sectors.

To develop cutting-edge solutions to global challenges, part of what we do is to work with academic scientists , in particular, those based at the world-renowned Roslin Institute, which is on our doorstep and with whom we have a unique relationship that allows us access to unencumbered intellectual property. 

The key to fostering successful partnership is constructive engagement.  Dr Karen Fairlie-Clarke is our Innovation and Engagement Manager, whose role is to build relationships and projects with our academic partners. Her background as a postdoctoral research scientist in parasitology, where she helped bring projects to impact working closely with stakeholders, means that she understands the ethos and processes of scientists how to work with them and the importance of delivering impact from fundamental research.

“Scientists are of course passionate about their research, but they also recognise there is a significant difference between academic proof of concept and a product ready for launch commercially” Karen says. That’s where we come in – we’re supporting projects, helping turn them from academically validated initiatives into commercial propositions

“By engaging effectively with our scientific partners at an early stage we can effect change quicker and accelerate bringing the best ideas out to market,’” she adds. To avoid the ”valley of death”, where sometimes great science can falter on its way to market due to lack of support, it’s important to understand the prospects and beneficiaries for that science early on, and with that knowledge, bring in the right commercial and product development expertise. That means she works closely with our commercialisation team as well as academics to ensure the journey from scientific investigation to commercial solution is as streamlined as possible.

In her own unique role, Karen embodies what we do – taking great science, and driving it to impact that’s both commercially viable and useful to our wide range of stakeholders.