A technology readiness level (TRL) describes the extent of a technology’s development (BIRAC, 2023). The TRL describes how ready a product is to start a business and to be deployed for use. There are nine levels, with the lowest level being basic research and the highest level being a product that is ready for deployment. You might need to describe your technology’s TRL in an application for a business loan, a grant proposal, or a pitch to potential investors.
Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs)
Level 1: Basic Research – Hypothesis that development is feasible.
Level 2: Applied Research – Progress in applying basic research, not yet optimized.
Level 3: Critical Concept or Proof of Function Established – A single, small-scale lab success.
Level 4: Proof of Concept and Function Established – Lab testing and validation of the alpha prototype, component, or process.
Level 5: Testing of the Integrated System – Lab testing of the prototype when integrated into the system in which it is used.
Level 6: Prototype System Verified – The process of large-scale development works.
Level 7: Integrated Pilot System Demonstrated – The product works consistently and can be used without harmful consequences, such as slower workflow, repetitive stress injury, or product failure to perform as designed.
Level 8: System Incorporated in Commercial Design – Technological development allows scaling to meet market demand.
Level 9: System Proven and Ready for Full Commercial Deployment – Manufacturing, quality control, order fulfillment, and delivery processes are in place to ensure that products meet the promised standards and are delivered in a timely fashion.
BIRAC. BIRAC-TRLS: Technology Readiness Levels by BIRAC Across Areas Under Biotechnology. Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). February 14, 2023.
Resource on Technology Readiness Levels
Descriptions of technology readiness levels across different biotechnology areas. Available through bnl.gov.