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Making a business case for commercializing research

Laura Husak
Research Awards

How can new technologies that prevent the loss of fruit after harvest make it from the lab to the market? Do researchers and marketing companies agree on what is needed?

These are the questions Laura Husak, a 2015  Research Award recipient, sought to answer while working with an IDRC team to ensure the research the Centre funds leads to “large-scale positive change” for smallholder farmers.

Using a business lens — “an approach not commonly used in the development sector” — she focused on a project to develop innovative technologies to prolong the shelf life of soft fruit in Sri Lanka.

While she found that the business approach could help streamline the process of scaling-up, “other important factors shape how research results are deployed,” says Husak. This research “really opened my eyes to the need for interdisciplinary approaches to sustainable development.”

It also spurred an interest in how development institutions interact with funding partners and grantees. “The Research Award program offered the perfect balance between research and program management activities. It was a fantastic way for me to transition from being a graduate student to being a young professional,” says Husak.

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