What is CRL ???

What is Commercial Readiness Level (CRL)?


R&D grant funders have shifted in the balance between technical innovation and commercial potential in current years. We find ourselves now in a position of equality where organizations must demonstrate both novelty and scalability to be successful.


Innovate UK, in particular, are now presenting Innovation Loans that support late-stage R&D activity with a preference for near-commercial products, techniques and services.


The Commercial Readiness Level (CRL) framework assesses various indicators which influence the business and market conditions beyond just the science maturity. This enables key barriers to be addressed to support the commercialisation of a technology. Similar to Technology Readiness Level (TRL), CRL has a scale from 1-9 to pick out the commercial readiness of the technology.


How does CRL apply to grant funding?


The intervention rate granted to a successful grant application is affected by way of the stage of development of a product/solution (i.e. Industrial Research vs Experimental Development). Whilst TRL is often the barometer for funding bodies to verify the development stage of a product/solution, CRL can also be considered; with some funding calls explicitly stating the requirement for CRL identification.

The CRL framework can additionally be used within a funding application to explain the ahead development of a project, for example taking a product/solution from CRL 3 to CRL 6.


How do you understand what stage your technology is at on the CRL scale?


CRL 1 – Basis Hypothesis


Developed an initial understanding of the industrial opportunity for the proposed product, process or solution. Outlining of the potential viability via using tools such as a business model canvas. At this stage market knowledge is limited or not obtained.


CRL two – Market Awareness


Undertaken initial market analysis of the wider market including established market structure, dynamics and segmentation, primarily via secondary research. Awareness of potential purposes for the proposed product, process or solution; at this stage these ideas are often speculative and invalidated.


Developed perception of existing market offerings: their strengths, weaknesses and potential to be surpassed.


CRL 3 – Technology Application


A deeper perception of potential applications, market requirements, constraints and competitive technologies/solutions/products. Research is conducted via a combination of data gathering techniques (primary and secondary) to validate and confirm the market.


Developed product hypotheses from technology and market data analysis that align with recognized market shortfalls. This may include the initial identification of focused customer segments.


Commercialisation analysis, with a heavy focus on primary lookup that considers both current market conditions and forecasted future requirements.


CRL 4 – Value Proposition


Refinement and verification of the product hypothesis through additional market/product analysis, which includes engagement with potential customers/users. Mapping of product/process/solution attributes against market needs, defining a clear value proposition.


Creation of a simple cost-performance model to support the value proposition and illustrate technological know-how advantages. Basic competitor analysis carried out.


Initial value chain analysis, including the identification and mapping of workable suppliers, partners and customers. Identification of any certification and/or regulatory requirements.


CRL 5 – Market Alignment


A deeper understanding of target users/innovation software and market dynamics aligned with further product development. Comprehensive competitor analysis completed.


Establishment of initial relationships with suppliers, companions and customers; all of which have provided input that has impacted product definition and proposition.


Development of a basic monetary model including initial projections for brief and long-term sales, costs, margins etc. A comprehensive cost-performance model that further validates the cost proposition and delivers an understanding of product design trade-offs. Documentation of alignment with the goal market.


CRL 6 – Product/Solution optimisation


Translation of identified customer/market needs to product needs, optimising the product/solution design. Development of sales and advertising plan including documentation of full product/market requirement documents.


Partnerships formed with key stakeholders throughout the value chain. Identified and secured trail partners/customers.


Full understanding of all certification and regulatory necessities and appropriate steps for compliance set in progress. Continued refinement of financial models which include cost/performance trade-offs etc.


CRL 7 – Financial Model Validation


Completion of product/solution design. The utilisation of first adopters/trial users. Full engagement, and product qualification, with all stakeholders; supply and customer agreements in place.


Validation of financial fashions and projections for early and late-stage production/launch. Accommodation of all certification and/or regulatory compliance for both the product/solution and supporting operations.


CRL 8 – Market Introduction


Qualification of clients complete, and initial product/solution sales to target clients utilising developed business model and route to market strategy.


Development of commercialisation strategies and processes for large/rapid scale-up, including production and sales. Market assumptions are continually up to date and validated to reflect changing market dynamics.


CRL 9 – Full Launch


Widespread deployment is achieved and the enterprise model is complete.


Why use Innovation grant funding experts?


Although there are many benefits to supply funding, the process of applying can be confusing, time-consuming and strenuous. Using the creative and technical competencies of a professional grant writing consultancy will assist your commercial enterprise in translating technologies and business models into a language and layout that funders require; increasing the chance of success. So, if you have an ambitious mission or innovation, why not contact us?


Reach Out


If you have a disruptive enterprising project or innovation, why not contact us? A brief chat with one of our innovation consultants will help you determine whether grant funding could get your project off the ground.


Why use grant funding experts?


Although there are many benefits to seeking grant funding, the thought of applying can be confusing, time-consuming and stressful. Using the creative and technical skills of a professional Innovation grant writing consultancy will strengthen your business in translating technologies and business models into a language and format assessors understand; increasing the chance of success. If you have a disruptive ambitious project or innovation, why not contact Capti Innovation.