A Conversation with Shanshan Li and Reshma Singh. Unveiling the Intersection of Innovation and Market, A Deep Dive into Tech Transfer and Commercialization

Building Value In Innovation Ecosystems- A Conversation Series- OneValley


The journey from laboratory breakthroughs to market-ready solutions is a critical yet intricate path in technology and innovation. In a recent podcast conversation, Reshma Singh and Shanshan Li, two formidable figures in technology transfer and commercialization, shared invaluable insights into their roles and the significance of their collaborative efforts. Let's explore their experiences and the nuances of bridging the gap between lab innovations and commercial success.


The Essence of Lab-to-Market Programs

Singh and Li emphasize the pivotal role of lab-to-market programs in catalyzing transformative change. They underscore the significance of collaboration between academia, industry, and government in translating scientific breakthroughs into tangible solutions. Drawing parallels with historical milestones like the evolution of space technology and GPS, they highlight the urgency of collective action in addressing pressing challenges such as climate change.



Navigating Trends in Tech Transfer

Reflecting on current trends, Singh and Li note the influx of government funding and initiatives to advance innovation ecosystems. They highlight the burgeoning focus on decarbonization and climate resilience as pivotal areas driving technological innovation. With a surge in funding calls and partnerships, the landscape of tech transfer is witnessing a paradigm shift toward fostering sustainable solutions.


Unveiling Cradle to Commerce

The Cradle to Commerce program, a groundbreaking initiative in the fight against climate change, is at the heart of their conversation. The program addresses the gap between lab innovations and market adoption by curating scientifically validated IP  from 4 federally funded national laboratories. Through strategic collaborations and ecosystem support, Cradle to Commerce endeavors to develop scientifically backed climate technologies in four domains: Nuclear, Smart Grid, Smart Buildings and Renewables. The program does so by matching entrepreneurs-at-large with researchers and scientists at the National Labs and combining the power of carbon and capital. 


Balancing Commercial Success and Innovation Access

Shanshan Li reflects on the delicate balance between commercial success and wider access to innovation and highlights the challenges faced by organizations like the National Lab, striving to support researchers and promote real-world problem-solving, they must ensure alignment with market needs. Collaboration with investors and industry partners becomes crucial in this endeavor, facilitating translation of scientific solutions into commercially viable products.


Impact of Cradle to Commerce Program

Reshma Singh shares insights into the Cradle to Commerce program, emphasizing its role in accelerating research translation while nurturing entrepreneurial skills among scientists. By de-risking technologies and teams, the program aims to attract investors and industry partners, fostering a conducive environment for innovation. Reshma stressed the importance of providing opportunities for scientists to explore entrepreneurial ventures and establish credibility with their technologies.


Advice for Ecosystem Builders

The conversation touches upon valuable advice for ecosystem builders aiming to foster innovation and collaboration. According to Reshma, partnerships should leverage strengths and address weaknesses, emphasizing the importance of using science as the backbone for innovation. By partnering with the right people and staying grounded in scientific validation, organizations can pave the way for sustainable and equitable innovation ecosystems.


Success Stories and Goals

Shanshan and Reshma shared inspiring success stories, including advancements in aerosol duct sealing technology and battery-related innovations. These stories underscored the transformative impact of collaborative efforts in driving progress and addressing pressing global challenges. Both expressed optimism about the program's potential to launch more climate tech companies and contribute significantly to global decarbonization efforts.

Favorite Books and Podcasts

As a bonus, Shanshan and Reshma share their favorite resources for inspiration. Shanshan finds podcasts offering diverse perspectives on capitalism and ventures intriguing, while Reshma recommends thought-provoking reads such as "Ministry for the Future" and "Think Again" by Adam Grant, along with the biography of visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson.



The insightful conversation with Shanshan Li and Reshma Singh highlights the critical role of collaboration, risk mitigation, and scientific expertise in driving innovation and addressing complex challenges in the energy and technology sectors. Organizations can catalyze transformative change and pave the way for a sustainable future by fostering an environment conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Get notified about OneValley insights

Be the first to know about industry insights to build or refine your entrepreneurial ecosystem with the tools and knowledge of today.