Ireland will be the first place in the world where Bell Labs will hold its Impact Series of IP mash-ups between universities and start-ups, entrepreneur-in-residence Mark Castleman told the Innovation Ireland Forum in Dublin.
Bell Labs, which is part of Alcatel-Lucent, owes its heritage to the breakthroughs of scientist and inventor Alexander Graham Bell in the 19th century.
Earlier this year, the company announced the Bell Labs Prize for innovators to come up with new ICT concepts, with cash awards of up to US$100,000.
At this morning’s Innovation Ireland Forum, Castleman said the intention is to create something tangible by matchmaking the needs of start-ups with the capabilities of universities.
“We want to create a way to have an impact on the community around us.
“We’re going to match start-ups with a need with universities that have a capability and produce IP, something tangible that has value.
“And Ireland is the place we are going to roll this out first.”
Castleman, who built and sold several of his own technology companies prior to joining Bell Labs as entrepreneur-in-residence, said large, traditional organisations need to work with the start-up and academic community in order to stay on-trend.
“There was a time when Bell Labs always had a foothold. I came in to try and re-establish that and create something new.
“That involves getting involved with what other people are doing. It has to be relevant and for that it needs to be open.”
Explaining how the IP mash-up will work, Castleman said, “We looked at what are the ways we could create an activity that was really a part of Bell Labs, IP is part of that.
“We’re not a hackathon-oriented company, but start-ups are out there and they may need technical backing to enable differentiation and build an IP portfolio of value.
“Researchers in universities are very talented and like a challenge. So our thinking was let’s have start-ups pitch their need and universities pitch their capability.
“We will match them up and give them 24 hours to develop their IP, get judged and win a prize and after that there is an opportunity to commercialise that.
“So unlike many of these hackathons we want to create something tangible that will last, not throwaway code.”
Watch Mark Castleman deliver his keynote address at the Innovation Ireland Forum here: