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Principles of Research Based Business



This course provides an integrated programme in which you learn to master knowledge and skills relating to the commercialisation of know-how and inventions generated through research. The emphasis is on research-based business in the Life Sciences sector (Pharma and Biotech), in connection with the focal point of activities at the Leiden Bio-Science Park and research conducted at the LUMC and the university.


‘Principles of Research Based Business’ is part of the Science & Research Based Business Minor (30 ects) as well as a separate elective (15 ects). The course is available for all 3rd year Bachelor students who are interested in science & technology as a source for business and for science students during their Master Specialisation programme (as a separate elective). The course runs from 14 November 2011 to 3rd February 2012.

Please note: If you are interested in Principles of RBB (minor or elective), it is not possible to register via USIS. Please make register through our jot-form.
Early registration may be useful as the course has a limited capacity.

Principles of RBB is an integrated programme of three RBB evening courses: RBB-Ventures, RBB-Planning and RBB-Opportunities, which can be followed together as well as separately.

RBB courses arm students and (future) researchers with the basic knowledge of how to spot, assess and exploit an entrepreneurial, research-based business opportunity and have been desiged to lower the hurdles for students and researchers for getting involved in the process of starting high-tech ventures. This knowledge will be valuable for those who aspire to one day start their own company or who want to become involved in the process of company creation and development as tech transfer managers, business developers, business advisors, investment managers or serial entrepreneurs.

Course content

The course starts off by discovering the research-based business opportunities in Life Sciences. Students work in teams to analyse how research-based products and companies came into being, and particularly what scientific developments and discoveries formed the basis of these. The analysis process includes interviews conducted by students with entrepreneurs and employees at companies who were involved in the above.
Students then explore the possibilities for developing recent discoveries made during scientific research in the life sciences into actual business opportunities. This includes interviews held with the relevant inventors, the effect of these possibilities on the market, and weighing up the potential costs and benefits. These activities will gradually establish the important issues in the commercialisation process. Students report the results of the analyses and the surveys orally and in writing, and discuss them in the group under the guidance of the lecturers.

Business Cases:
A series of business cases dealing with managerial issues when setting up science and technology-based business is used to take a closer look at various aspects of these issues. Focal points in these cases include entrepreneurs’ personal qualities, the role played by patents, the choice of business model, academic versus surrogate entrepreneurship, making up a team of incorporators, the available options for financing a start-up company, and the way in which investors assess and evaluate business plans. Students analyse the business cases and discuss them using theoretical concepts such as those described in textbooks, technical notes and scientific articles.

Technology Transfer:
Specific attention is subsequently devoted to Technology Transfer. This is the process of transferring technology and exploitation rights from research institutes to companies: applying for patents, buying and selling know-how and patent rights, estimating the value, conducting negotiations and concluding contracts.

Business Plan:
During the course, students work on a business plan in teams, supervised by a business coach. The business plan is for a new company to be set up on the basis of a business opportunity that has arisen from research at the university or in the business sector. It requires the integrated application of the knowledge that students have acquired during the course. A final meeting is held in which each team presents and defends its business plan in the presence of investors and entrepreneurs.

Teaching staff

Coordinating lecturers:

  • Harmen Jousma and Shengnan Zhao

The courses are set up and supervised in collaboration with Leiden University Research and Innovation Services (LURIS), entrepreneurs and employees at companies in the Science Park, and coaches from a wide range of businesses, banks, management consultancies and investment companies with experience in the field of research-based business planning and development.


The reading list given below is a temporary one, intended to give students an idea of the books they will be expected to read. The SBB Team will equip students with the books that will ultimately be required on the basis of a lending system.

  • Kubr, Marchesi, Ilar and Kienhuis, Starting up – Achieving success with professional business planning, McKinsey and Company, 1998

  • Scott Shane, Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures, Pearson Education, 2005


More information about our organization can be found on the SBB website