Interview Dr. Mirjam Leloux
Director of the UvA and HvA Technology Transfer Office
Valorisation: time to share best practices!
“I think sharing the success stories in valorisation in different field of science can help scientists to learn how to effectively apply it”. Dr, Mirjam Leloux bases her ideas on her experience as a research manager, entrepreneur, and director of the Technology Transfer Office at the University of Amsterdam.
“We are now at a stage where scientists are beginning to learn what valorisation means and how they can initiate valorisation activities. If you loosely define valorisation as making sure society can use new knowledge – economically or otherwise – it opens up opportunities. But we must learn from past experiences, failures and successes.
As a TTO director, I currently enjoy bringing all stakeholders together in harmonizing and activating the valorisation climate at the knowledge institutes in Amsterdam. We have a strategic vision, but need to develop it into concrete steps and implement it.
First of all, many scientists still have little idea as to what valorisation is and how they can participate. But funding agencies like Horizon 2020 and the Dutch visitation committees value knowledge transfer immensely. The societal impact of research becomes an increasingly important factor in acquiring funding for scientific research. A Technology Transfer Officer can provide knowledge, training and workshops for scientists and bring them into contact with the right companies or (non-) governmental organisations.
It is crucial that scientists learn how to view their research from the point of view of the end user. Who will be helped by my research? Who could use my knowledge? Scientists should also have a basic understanding of contractual agreements surrounding secrecy and intellectual property. A lack of knowledge directly impedes the openness to cooperate among scientists or to build consortia. Of course, the natural scientists and technical sciences must have help and understanding of the patenting process. Ideas about these topics among scientists are often skewed or seen as problematic.
During my workshop at the conference Let Scientists Shine! I am going to show some successful valorisation projects and thereby discuss the success and fail factors. The do’s and don’ts. In an interactive setting I hope to enthuse the audience to see possibilities and to know what knowledge and network is required for successful valorisation activities”.