The optimisation workshop has been arranged annually since 2012 and is an important meeting place for researchers who want to take their research towards a commercial application as well as TTO representatives. As the number of funded projects has increased, the event has become more and more popular and is now an important arena for meeting peers across different technology transfer projects.
This years' workshop was from lunch to lunch and on the first day the focus was on societal value and relevance in relation to your business model. Three optimisation projects presented themselves and elaborated on how they integrate societal value and stakeholders. Then Jaran Rauø from Marealis presented his views from a business perspective and why societal values and stakeholders are important for his company.
Esben Nilssen, Managing partner G+N (Foto: Renate M. Simonsen)
At the end of the day Kia Klavenes (Pure Consulting) and Steven Flipse (Delft University) moderated an interactive session on how to build a business model that included dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). Dr. Flipse's research group had, for the purpose of the workshop, developed a RRI-canvas that would enable researchers to see how the commercial plan and societal dimensions can be integrated to form a new business model. Everyone was encouraged to bring the canvas home with them and use it when working with the projects.
The second day of the workshop was focused on looking at the road ahead. Øivind Enger from Sarsia Seed Management started the day off by describing how to write a good application for the verification call. A verification funded by FORNY2020 is often the next step for many of the optimisation projects and Øivind encouraged the audience to be more commercially oriented and to be realistic and honest. Patenting is often a vital activity in many optimisation projects and in the second talk Esben Nilssen from G+N discussed why it is important to think commercialization and why patenting is no hindrance for a research career. He also shared his views on how patenting can be important in order to create career opportunities for PhDs in start-up companies.
To round off the day, the audience was treated to a couple success stories from two different areas of the Norwegian Biotechnology industry.
Geno is one of the largest exporters of genetic material for cattle and Elisabeth Kommisrud from the BIOTEK2021 programme board/Spermvital presented how innovative thinking created new spin-off companies in collaboration with universities and other companies. Two of the most successful companies were Cryogenetics and SpermVital.
The OptiNose technology has been hailed as a very promising Norwegian innovation. Helene Djupesland's husband had a great idea for a new type of nose pump that could deliver drugs more efficiently via the nose. This generated the foundation for a new way of thinking about drug delivery to the brain. Together they have been working hard to create a business model and establish themselves with offices in the UK and in the US. Helena explained how it was possible to come so far and how they were able to attract investors.
The feedback from the participants was that they all had a good time at Thon Arena Hotel. BIOTEK2021 was grateful to have so many of the projects attending and are already looking forward to next years' workshop.