ETTBio Project – that’s how you can learn from the others
The ETTBio (Effective Technology Transfer in Biotechnology) Project has been designed to better exploit the economic potential of research institutes and universities as a source of innovation and, hence, efficient regional economic development in the biotechnology sector. ETTBio thereby focuses on biotechnology as the key sector, the key enabling technology in 21st century Europe. The sector has very specific characteristics, which have a significant impact on a successful design of the technology transfer process, including high risk, long product development circles and substantial financial investment needs. Moreover, the potential of biotechnology is hindered by a lack of experience and deficiencies in existing policies and practice. The most important aims for ETTBio Project are therefore to identify, exchange and share best practices enabling successful and effective technology transfer in biotechnology, and to improve local and regional policies accordingly. These actions can lead to a higher number of new companies, the creation of new jobs, higher tax income for the participating countries as well as an increase in the regional innovation capacity and economic performance. In order to achieve that goal ten project partners from seven EU Member States collected and analyzed good practices in technology transfers in biotechnology, exchange know-how on them, currently adapt selected good practices to their regional contexts, and eventually develop regional implementation plans for good practice transfer. These partners include the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD)as the Lead Partner of the consortium and the city of Dresden (Germany), the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), the Imperial College Business School of London (United Kingdom), the Regional Development Agency of Ostrava (Czech Republic), the City of Tartu (Estonia), the City of Warsaw and the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (Poland) as well as Biocat and the Center for Genomic Regulation (Spain) – explains Nadine Schmieder-Galfe, the project leader of ETTBio from the Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at TUD.
One of the most important features that distinguishes the ETTBio Project from other EU consortia is the heterogeneous character of the partners. Due to the European network of well, medium and less experienced research institutes as well as policy-makers, partners take the opportunity to share their experience in processes and policies of technology transfer in the biotechnology sector and link this directly to policy-making. The diversity of the partnership allows gathering of all the relevant information on the subject. Eventually, the partners use their findings for concrete policy actions.
As one of the ETTBio partners, Biocat together with “La Caixa” and Barcelona Activa run the Bioemprenedor XXI program which has been designed to support the creation of companies in the life sciences arena in the fields of biotechnology, biomedicine and agrifood. It is a benchmark program in the emergence of projects and start-up of new technology-based companies in Southern Europe. Up to now we have ran six editions on a yearly basis and just nowadays we are beginning the seventh one – explains Carlos Lurigados from Biocat in Catalonia. Bioemprenedor XXI offers an integral program with actions, tools and resources that allow participants to consolidate their business project, extend their network of contacts, develop managerial skills, access funding and the global market, and participate in a final Business Plan Competition which offers the possibility of winning a prize of up to 10,000 euros, in addition to important complementary events to help start up their business activity. The program is based on practical application and includes:
In its first six years of operation (2008-2013), 95 projects participated in the Bioemprenedor XXI program, generating 51 new companies and 232 jobs. With these amazing indicators, the Bioemprenedor XXI program represents one of the best practices in the ETTBio project.
Another best practice of the ETTBio consortium is the International Summer School on Technology Transfer in Life Sciences, which is organized by the Faculty of Medicine at TUD with the support of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Aiming to establish interdisciplinary activities in the field of technology transfer in life sciences in the long run, the Faculty of Medicine for the first time organized an International Summer School in September 2013, which was attended by more than 20 international senior and junior researchers. Key questions of the program were: How do I identify the commercial potential in my research? How can I protect my inventions? What are the benefits of the licensing or spin-off pathway, and how to pursue each pathway? The theoretical background was developed together with experts and directly applied to concrete examples and projects of the participating researchers. Thanks to the success of the pilot summer school, this training format will be continued during the next years, with the next opportunity coming up from 28th September to 2nd October 2014 in Dresden, Germany.
The ETTBio project from the view of the partner region Warsaw (Poland)
The City of Warsaw and the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology from Poland are also project partners in the ETTBio consortium. What is the main role of the Polish partners? The City of Warsaw is responsible for the communication and dissemination of information on the design and development of an effective technology transfer. We are responsible for moderating the website www.ettbio.eu.
We also participate in technology transfer events and workshops. Of course, we represent the whole ETTBio Project, but indirectly, we hope that we manage to recruit partners to take new challenges associated with the development of industry R&D in Warsaw. – explains Mr. Michał Olszewski Vice Deputy Mayor of Warsaw – In collaboration with the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology we try to find the answer for the question what else should be done to support the R&D environment in Warsaw. We need to emphasize here the value of international cooperation by participating in projects (such as ETTBio [www.ettbio.eu], Cross Innovation [www.cross-innovation.eu], CCIC [www.ccic-project.eu]) which have huge influence on development of our city. As the INTERREG IVC program under which ETTBio runs assumes, good practices should be transferred from one region to another within the range of subjects on the effectiveness of technology transfer. That was the reason for us why we joined this excellent network effort three years ago. Within the ETTBio Project, each region initially prepared a status-quo analysis of their situation in terms of readiness and opportunities. The results were presented to the other partners, who have expressed their opinions and recommendations. Thanks to this open and helpful feedback, we now know what kind of practice should be implemented.. Concluding, the Project helped us to locate our weaknesses and, with the support of our project partners, we were able to prepare the implementation plan. We are also able to develop a good prescription for action in the future, where we can consult with key players of European biotechnology players. This is a huge benefit for us.
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