Lebanon Innovate: Training of Trainers for University Executives on Innovation and Intellectual Property Strategies

In a world where ideas are as valuable as gold, creating a strong shield to protect these intellectual treasures is essential. This challenge is at the heart of Berytech’s efforts, together with its partners from the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN), through the significant “Lebanon Innovate” (LI) program, Funded by the European Union (EU). Lebanon Innovate is not just any program; it acts as a driving force to turn Lebanon into a center of innovation by helping universities turn research into products that are ready to sell. 
On February 1st and 2nd, 2024, phase one of the activity concluded with a Training of Trainers (ToT) session, bringing together various Lebanese universities and research institutions representatives.  

The training provided participants with the knowledge and tools needed to develop innovation and intellectual property (IP) strategies for their organizations. It focused on IP fundamentals, art searches, and the intricacies of IP management and strategy. It also addressed the fundamentals of technology transfer and knowledge valorization, highlighting how these elements contribute to the effective commercialization of ideas. 

From Academic Innovation to Business Integration 

Imagine Intellectual Property (IP) as a secret shield safeguarding your creative ideas, just like when you protect your rights to a groundbreaking study aiming to cure cancer. It involves legal measures designed to ensure that a person’s creative efforts are recognized and protected. 
A primary goal of this initiative is to educate university communities about this protective shield, empowering them to effectively guard their innovations.  

Alongside this, efforts are underway to integrate the business aspect into academia, ensuring that intellectual creations are not only safeguarded but also ready for entrepreneurial development within university premises. This prepares the groundwork for these innovations to be spun off into startups or other professional opportunities. 

Training’s Starting Point 
Prior to the on-site Training of Trainers (ToTs), participants were led through a specialized journey under the guidance of José Ricardo Aguilar, Head of Legal and IP at EU|BIC Instituto Pedro Nunes. This journey included a comprehensive 10-module program that blended theoretical knowledge with practical sessions on IP management and strategy development, targeting university representatives (deans, researchers, etc.).  

The program proceeded with an on-site two-day workshop, led by Dr. Mohab Anis, CEO of Innovety, laying the groundwork for participants to engage deeply with the material and practical applications. This phase was integral for participants to draft an innovation and IP strategy roadmap for their organizations. 
What’s next 
The journey will progress to its next phase, with Dr. Mohab Anis leading group coaching sessions for each university. Spanning a 90-day period, these sessions will focus on assessing participants’ progress and providing guidance on the execution of the developed roadmap. 

Key Takeaways from the Onsite Training 

Day 1: Innovating at Universities 
During the two-day training session, participants explored how universities can drive innovation effectively and set up a clear structure. Dr. Anis highlighted the importance of: 

  • ⁠Research management – Aligning research with funding and resources.⁠ 
  • Prototyping facilities – Supporting the transition from research to tangible prototypes. 
  • ⁠Product development – Providing dedicated facilities for refining prototypes. 

“Successful commercialization relies on universities having solid technology transfer structures.”

Dr. Mohab Anis, CEO of Innovety

Dr. Anis also discussed pathways for commercialization, such as turning the idea into concrete business ventures or licensing, facilitated by incubation hubs and most importantly, technology transfer offices (TTOs). 

Day 2: Empowering Universities 
On the second day, Dr. Anis emphasized Lebanon Innovate’s role in supporting universities and how they can assist in establishing technology transfer structures, developing IP policies, and securing funding.  
Recognizing diverse needs, the program aims to tailor support, ensuring all universities have what they need for successful innovation. 

The Vision

In the words of Ramy Boujawdeh, COO of Berytech, “We want to see more entrepreneurs coming out of universities and see more startup spinoffs. Through that, the Lebanon Innovate program is a spark for a much longer partnership amongst all of us. You [universities] have a very important role to really make this transformation.”

This emphasizes the program’s dedication to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation within academia. It highlights the pivotal role of universities in nurturing and safeguarding university-led innovations, achieved with Lebanon Innovate’s support through comprehensive guidance on acquiring funding and operational assistance. 

Interested in knowing more? Make sure to read Lebanon Innovate: Mapping Business Support Organizations in Lebanon

Picture of Yvona Nehme

Yvona Nehme

Yvona Nehme joined Berytech in February 2024 as the Communication and Outreach Coordinator for the Lebanon Innovate program.

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