Panel: “Ideation, Research, Tech Transfer – how can universities and startups transform corporates.” (GEW 2020)

Universities, start-ups, and corporations should and can work together to meet new challenges, is the conclusion of the panel discussion “Ideation, Research, Tech Transfer – how can universities and startups transform corporates.” The panel was organized by the Business Accelerator UKIM and the Center for Technology Transfer and Innovation – INOFEIT within the Global Entrepreneurship Week, made possible in Macedonia by Startup Macedonia.

Crimson Capital CEO and President of the Crimson Development Foundation, Michael Gold, emphasized that we face many unprecedented challenges.

“The global pandemic, several global economic shocks, and political crises in many countries, leave us wondering what’s next, but with the recent vaccine development, you can see that R&D turned into commercialized products and services, can in fact help us overcome current and future challenges. Collaboration between universities, research labs, businesses, and governments is what brings research to market.,” Gold said.

For Professor Vladimir Atanasovski, Executive Director of the Center for Technology Transfer and Innovation – INOFEIT, academic institutions have more freedom in research than companies.

“When it comes to research, Universities, and other academic environments/institutions have more freedom than corporates to investigate, research, develop, design, prototype, and test specific solutions. “Exactly the role of INOFEIT is to boost the cooperation between academia and industry, so that we will not derive solutions to non-existing problems, and that we actually work on real-world problems that can be beneficial to somebody,” Atanasovski added.

According to him, the universities benefit from cooperation with the companies, ie as an optimal model, the financing of their research should come from the private as well as the public sector.

Mateja Lavric, CEO of Kolektor Ventures (investment fund of Kolektor) from Slovenia emphasized that it does not matter how big a certain company is, because it can not develop everything on its own.

“No matter how big the company is, you cannot develop everything by yourself. Connecting with academia, other companies (even competitors), and high-tech startups is crucial for maintaining a competitive position. Our company has been working with universities and research institutes for the last 20-25 years. We have strong internal R&D, but it is just not enough”.

“First we should recognize a problem that could be addressed. If that problem is replicable in different areas or industries, and it can be solved, then we have a real case of how the solution can be on the right track to becoming an innovation and being commercialized”, explains Gjorgji Madzarov, co-founder and CEO of Elevate Global.

“In times of great competition, startups do not have time to apply for patents. There are other types of protection, including their personal expertise, which would allow them to enter the market as quickly as possible and thus protect themselves from competition”, emphasized Antoanet (Tony) Levy;  Holon Institute of Technology (HIT) and Israel Innovation Authority – Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS).

The panel discussion was attended by about 40 representatives of educational institutions, companies, start-up communities, the NGO sector, and students and took place on 19 November 2020.