From science to business workshop

How to help researchers go from science to business with this open-course workshop format

Jolien Coenraets
Ghent University

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Background and Objectives
The Science to Business workshop was first developed by iMinds (now IMEC, the world-leading R&D and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies) in 2014 as the Opportunity Recognition Workshop (ORW) to help researchers with digital technologies in bringing their research to market. One of the biggest hurdles to commercialize research is to identify potential markets and to find a problem with a sufficiently large market size that can be solved with the respective technology.

The goal of the Science to Business workshop is to:
- help researchers bridge the gap between research and the identified market opportunity
- develop the researcher’s entrepreneurial skills
- teach researchers to apply innovation techniques and methodologies to their own research
- prepare researchers to take part in follow-up programs that focus on business modelling
- stimulate research to generate a commercial impact beyond mere research-focussed impact
- shape tomorrow’s society through compelling research applications

Between 2014 and 2016, iMinds organised 8 editions of this workshop with great success and good feedback from the participants. Unfortunately, the fusion between iMinds & IMEC resulted in a discontinuation of this program. Nevertheless, a great need for this workshop remained as different universities continued to express interest. Recently the project was revitalized with the support of the European Institute of Technology (EIT) as a cross-KIC project for EIT Health, EIT Raw Materials and EIT InnoEnergy.

Within this EIT cross-KIC project, we developed new course materials and a guide book to allow universities from all over Europe to implement this workshop concept by themselves. The first workshop with the new course materials will be run from April 8 – 10. The guide book and final deliverables will be ready to distribute during the summer of 2019.