A4L_ACTIONS Thematic Mini-conference with Matchmaking Event organised recently in Slovakia and hosted by the Biomedical Research Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences (BMC SAS) was aimed at sharing research ideas with intellectual origin in the Central and Eastern European countries and at creating opportunities for matchmaking with pharma and med-tech industry. The event was held between the 3-5th October 2022 in the Congress Center of the Slovak Academy of Sciences on the Smolenice Castle.
The speakers and participants comprised research and development leaders in cancer and metabolic disorders. The event’s topics included investigations of genetic, epigenetic and physiological mechanisms of diseases through preclinical and clinical approaches and translation of newly acquired knowledge into advances in diagnostics and therapy. The program of this mini-conference reflected the current programming priorities of Horizon Europe within Cancer Mission. It covered scientific lectures, project opportunities information, matchmaking, and discussion about future collaborations.
The main event’s purpose was to explore the opportunities for collaboration of research and industry that could lead to the creation of initial small projects, which the Alliance4Life´s Seed fund will support.
The meeting fulfilled its two primary goals. Firstly, it brought together researchers of the A4L_ACTIONS partner institutions and enabled them to get insight into their scientific topics and to stimulate the exchange of ideas and interests for collaboration. Secondly, it facilitated the matchmaking of scientists with industry representatives from biomedical, artificial intelligence and medicinal chemistry areas. The event opened opportunities for closer mutual communication and future joint activities that could lead to innovations. The meeting offered a high level of expertise, starting with an excellent keynote lecture by prof. Pawel Swietach from the University of Oxford continued with talks from A4L_ACTIONS partner researchers in an open and friendly atmosphere.
„I am happy that we could host such excellent and honest participants. Through this meeting, we broadened the scope of the A4L_ACTIONS project from sharing best practices in research governance to sharing knowledge and skills in research excellence,” said prof. Silvia Pastoreková, Director General of BMC SAS, Local Organizer of the Mini-conference and Member of the A4L_ACTIONS Strategy Board.
The last day was dedicated to introducing industrial partners in cancer and metabolic disease research. The major driving force beyond this event was to get to know the services and innovative research/developmental activities of companies and to create informal and formal tights between the member institutions of the A4L_ACTIONS consortium and potential industrial partners. These possibilities were discussed during the matchmaking, where researchers, representatives of companies and service-providing research facilities had the chance to map future cooperation possibilities.
The industrial participants convinced researchers that the knowledge of researchers and research facilities is crucial in cooperation, and business partners always welcome new research and innovative ideas. Especially in Central and Eastern Europe, the publication force of researchers and the market-driven activity of business partners do not exclude each other. However, this is not necessarily the same in Western Europe, but before each collaboration, the requirements and expectations of future cooperation partners should be discussed in advance.
„It has also been highlighted that having a good idea or service is not enough. The number of competitors in higher education and business environment is permanently increasing; thus, each entity must consider factors that can distinguish their performance and service from the others“, stated Zsolt Kohus, Technology Transfer Group Leader at Semmelweis University in Budapest and the chair of session six during the event.
Finally, during the Mini-Conference, the first round of the A4L_ACTIONS Seed Fund call for small collaborative academia-industry projects was announced. Both researchers and industrial partners expressed their interest in this activity and would welcome any suggestions to cooperate.
Text and photo: BMC SAS