How do you connect science and society? How do you ensure that adequate funding is available to convert good ideas into concrete projects, products and services? This is the reaim of Dr Annemieke Galema, director of the Department of Research and Valorisation of the RUG.
“Valorisation is the key term in our department. We facilitate the entrepreneurial university and the UMCG by stimulating cooperation between companies and organisations. We do this in three areas. We facilitate and support the strategy of the RUG and the UMCG. We support scientists in the raising of funds in the areas in which the RUG and the UMCG profile themselves: sustainable society, healthy ageing and energy. And finally, we actively contribute to knowledge valorisation for the RUG, the UMCG and stakeholders.
In this context, we have recently set up many public private partnerships. We make connections between knowledge partners, companies and civic organisations with respect to specific themes and then seek out funding.
A good example is the CCC, the Carbohydrate Competence Center. In the centre, we work on obtaining high-quality knowledge about carbohydrates, which can be used for innovations that contribute to a healthy and sustainable society. It is an excellent example of effective cooperation between knowledge partners, governments and business community.
Valorisation generates research
We work on valorisation not just at the Campus. Since the nineties, we have used patents to valorise knowledge in other parts of the RUG and the UMCG. We have gained a lot of experience, also with start-ups. And what is very important: these patents make money, which is used to fund new research. In brief, research generates new money and that moves new research forward. A highly innovative inhaler developed by Professor Frijlink, the Novalizer, is a perfect example.
Today’s university is strongly focused on disseminating knowledge beyond its walls. We may develop knowledge, but at the university we do not have the exclusive right to it. Moreover, you also continue to create new knowledge. What happens here in this respect at the Campus is a fantastic development. Fine examples of superb cooperation with companies here on campus are Lode, Syncom and Embed Engineering. The Energy Academy Europe tackles societal challenges based on shared knowledge. You also see this trend with the development of ZAP (Zernike Advanced Processing), which we at Research and Valorisation really applaud.
You need an open mind to do so, but you also literally need open buildings. That is, buildings that anyone can enter, from researchers and entrepreneurs to citizens and politicians. These are buildings where you can meet at different levels, also just simply for a cup of coffee in a pleasant canteen. It might also be combined with a handsome public academy where subjects that matter are brought to the table. And these have already been clustered in the region, so outside Campus as well, covering subjects such as bio-based economy, health, ICT and energy. Because the Campus in Groningen really fits well within these clusters. We must share the knowledge on campus as well as outside. This is why it is the entire constellation of campuses that matters: we are building towards innovative eco-structures and the collective profiling of the region can only benefit from this.”