ENRIITC & CzechInvest workshop: Infrastructures and Industry Engagement – Enabling European Innovation

The ENRIITC & CzechInvest workshop was a fantastic opportunity to discuss research infrastructure perspectives when engaging with industry as a supplier, user and collaborator. Speakers and panelists together with the 70 onsite and online participants exchanged on their experience, highlighting the importance of RI-industry partnerships for stronger scientific discovery, faster technological development and higher societal impact.

The event was jointly organised by the EU-funded ENRIITC project, aiming at strengthening the relationship between RIs and industry, and CzechInvest, the national business development and investment promotion agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Czech Republic thus giving a strong message on the importance of RI-industry collaboration to support European Research and Innovation.

Anne-Charlotte Joubert, the ENRITTC project coordinator, EU funding expert and grant officer at European Spallation Source introduced the ENRIITC project and its goal to build a permanent pan-European network of Industrial Liaison and Contact Officers (ILOs and ICOs) which supports industry to become a fuller partner of research infrastructures whether as a user, a supplier, or a co-creator.

She also presented one of the outputs of the project, a set of case studies on collaboration between research infrastructures and industrial companies.

Concluding on the importance of a platform like ENRIITC, she highlighted its importance to engage with the broad range of key stakeholders linked to the RI-industry community, thus supporting the European research and innovation ecosystem.

René Samek, a specialist in innovation infrastructures from CzechInvest, presented the environment for research, development and innovation in the Czech Republic and invited the participants to have a look at an exhibition of products of Czech startups from the ESA BIC incubator which CzechInvests runs in Prague and Brno.

Aleš Hála from the European research infrastructure ELI Beamlines headquartered near Prague presented how this laser research centre cooperates with industrial companies and how it offers the results of its research.

Representatives of two Czech companies, DEL (which supplies 3D models and equipment for hot chambers to the Jules Horowitz Reactor in France) and Vakuum Praha (which supplies vacuum chambers to, for example, CERN, ETH and ELI Beamlines) showed how they attracted the attention of these international research infrastructures and became their technology suppliers.

A lively discussion of representatives of five research infrastructures, moderated by Edward Mitchell, Head of Business Development from The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF).

Participants from European research infrastructures (Director General of EMSO, Juanjo Dañobeitia, Executive Director of CLARIN-ERIC Franciska de Jong, In-kind Procurement Adviser and Industry Contact Officer at GSI-FAIR, Sonia Utermann), national funding agencies (programme Manager at the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova, Maria Öhman), national business and investment agencies (specialist in innovation infrastructures at CzechInvest, Rene Samek) debated industry engagement models, with their advantages, their challenges, and looking at the drivers and solutions to bridge the gap from RIs to industry, and industry to RIs. The variety of the panelists coming from different horizons and scientific domains, brought a broad vision on the opportunity of collaboration and demonstrated that once the barriers are lowered RI-industry engagement can bring in many benefits both to the RI or the industry themselves, but also to wider society.

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