The “valley of death” between science and innovation

This is the first issue of a new BIP!

Many thanks to BIP’s team and to the Communication Service for this renewal, for their impressive daily work of providing answers and communication challenges to the research and innovation that we do.

BIP changes because at INESC TEC, we don’t change the attitude of constantly challenging ourselves to better do our mission.

It’s precisely about something significant that changes in our activity model that I wanted to write this editorial.

In innovation jargon, the difficulty of transforming knowledge into marketable products and services is known as the “valley of death”. Throughout the world, countries are faced with this “valley of death” challenge, which is critical for the social and economic development, and invest in institutions and strong partnerships in order to overcome it.

This bridge between science and innovation was part of the motivation to create INESC TEC, and it has been part of a success story that will celebrate 35 years of existence in 2020, in the fulfilment of a dual mission to create scientific knowledge and to convert it into social and economic impact.

Despite some success cases, such as INESC TEC, Portugal needs to strengthen itself in this area. It was precisely to contribute to this important public policy goal that INESC TEC recently became involved in the launch of several Collaborative Laboratories (CoLABs), in collaboration with academic and business partners.

CoLABs are institutions that aim at exploring the knowledge that is created in research institutions, applying it to important current and emerging problems under the scope of great social challenges. As institutions led by demand, focused on companies and oriented towards impact, CoLABs focus their activities on Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) that are closer to the market and technology transfer. For INESC TEC, CoLABs are therefore complementary vehicles for new opportunities of applied R&D and technology transfer.

Currently, there are eight CoLABs to which INESC TEC is associated with, which were approved under the competitive processes with international and independent assessment. B2E (Blue Economy), ForestWISE (Forest and Fire Integrated Management), Vines&Wines (Vine and Wine) and Vortex (Cyber-Physical Systems and Cyber Security) are already created and are in the start-up phase and BUILT (Ambiente Construído do Futuro – in English “Environment Built from the Future), CSESI Hub (Smart Energy Services Innovation), InovFeed (Produção Animal Sustentável – in English “Sustainable Animal Production”) and VG CoLAB (Vasco da Gama – Armazenamento de Energia- in English “Vasco da Gama – Energy Storage”) were recently approved.

Over the next years, our involvement with these CoLABs will result in a new aspect of our activity, in which we will be able to expand research in their respective areas of application, strengthen knowledge sharing and enhancement, and contribute to the creation of highly qualified jobs for our young talents.

It will surely represent an opportunity with great potential to strengthen our position as an interface institution of excellence, and to contribute to make our country more successful in its efforts to overcome the “valley of death”.

We are counting on all of you for this work of great importance!


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