Science-2-Business forum to focus on business innovation

23 May 2012

(From left) Prof Thomas Cooney, chair, Science-2-Business programme committee; Prof Mark Ferguson, director general, Science Foundation Ireland; Lisa Amini, director of IBM Research Ireland; and Minister for Research and Innovation Séan Sherlock, TD

A new programme to show how scientific research can be commercialised will take place at the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) in Dublin this July, but today marked the launch of that initiative, the Science-2-Business programme.

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the lead partner in the Science-2-Business programme, said today industry collaborations by SFI researchers reached 1,035 in 2011, an increase of 19pc from 867 in 2010.

SFI researchers are now working with 583 companies from 67 countries.

At ESOF this July, the aim of the Science-2-Business programme is to bring academics and members of the business community together to illustrate how to transform publicly funded research into successful companies.

After launching the programme today, Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock, TD, spoke about Ireland’s scope to highlight the intersection of science and business.

ESOF itself will take place in Dublin City from 11-15 July 2012. The organisers are expecting that 5,000 researchers, policy makers and business people will attend the forum.

As for the Science-2-Business programme, Dr Pearse Lyons, the founder and president of Alltech, will give the keynote. He will be speaking about how he took US$10,000 and transformed Alltech it into a billion-dollar business operating in more than 120 countries, over 30 years, without having to recourse to venture capitalists or outside investors.

There will also be a workshop on female researchers and entrepreneurship. The workshop will address the issue of the low number of start-ups from university through female entrepreneurs. Apparently the figure lies between 0pc and 15pc, despite the fact more than 50pc of university graduates in Europe are female.

A Marketplace exhibition will cover the different elements of the business start-up ecosystem, such as venture capital, advisory services around intellectual property and legal issues.

As well as this, a Careers Expo will enable researchers to meet and engage with leading international employers from the biomedical and engineering sectors.

Dr Lisa Amini, director of IBM Research Ireland, will be one of the speakers at ESOF 2012 as part of the Science-2-Business programme.

She spoke today about how science and technology will be vital in solving the challenges of the future.

“It is imperative that the academic community and business world work together to solve these problems,” said Amini. 

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic