The Research to Innovation Lab is a technology transfer training program under THE NEXT SOCIETY and in partnership with iPARK – Royal Scientific Society in Jordan. It is intended to empower technology transfer officers in universities in managing commercialization processes for applied research, opening up opportunities for business and industrial collaboration and local and international exposure. The program enables the exchange of expertise with international key players to promote technology portfolios and establish collaborations facilitating the interface between research with industry.
Four universities participated in a 6-month virtual program that ran from July 2020 to December 2020. They presented the work they did during the program by showcasing their IP Portfolio highlighting their most promising technology.
USJ was selected to benefit from the local technical assistance voucher that will be providing technical support to help them develop their most promising technology to access the markets.
Meanwhile, AUB was awarded the international e-soft-landing mission where they will be digitally connected with an international partner to potentially access international markets, exchange with experts and practitioners, boost international business development, or grasp global partnership opportunities in the selected country.
According to Krystel Khalil, Projects Lab Director at Berytech, “The program allowed universities to transform the research innovations they are working on into a commercialization opportunity to further explore the business potential and translate their research into projects that can open up industrial partnerships, create startup spin-offs, or licensing models. We have a good outcome from this program following the Technology Transfer Road Map we created where one of the key pillars was to strengthen the Technology Transfer Offices in Universities to bridge academia and industry.”
Meater – USJ
One very successful project coming out of USJ’s portfolio is MEATER, a device capable of distinguishing frozen-thawed from fresh meat protecting the health of consumers, and preventing foodborne illnesses associated with poor temperature control of meat.
In Lebanon, as in many developing countries, the regulatory framework for food safety across the supply chain is not effectively developed and food infections are considered a main public health problem. Regulators cannot effectively enforce regulatory requirements due to the lack of a validated method. This is where a need for a robust analytical instrument capable of distinguishing fresh meat from frozen and thawed meat arose.
Desiree Hajj explains: “We applied to the Research to Innovation Program to turn our prototype into a sustainable business that will be able to serve the community and protect people’s health. We also hoped to benefit from the expertise of consultants and connections we were put in contact with through the program. The program has helped us kickstart our project by defining and prioritizing the key areas we need to focus on from marketing to partnerships.
Our key success factors are communication, management, and alliances to create awareness for the society and health authorities highlighting the importance of the solution we provide. Through the program, we were able to create valuable partnerships and started conversations with both the private and public sectors.
During the economic crisis, it was harder to obtain the raw chemical materials needed for the testing and validation of the instrument as they are unavailable in Lebanon. However, fraud and food safety issues are on a rise due to the current crisis as some meat suppliers are looking for ways to reduce their losses. In addition, the medication crisis made foodborne illnesses a more serious health threat therefore the recent situation aggravated our will to pursue our mission.
We hope that by the end of the program we will have a clear plan helping us take the fittest actions to transform our scientific project into a sustainable business.”
Technology Transfer Unit – AUB
“Through its Technology Transfer Unit (TTU), The American University of Beirut (AUB) took part last year in the Research 2 Innovation Program. We were able to share TTU’s missions, functions, and commercialization challenges to other partner organizations in Lebanon and Europe, through multiple online groups and private sessions organized by Dr. Mohammed Al Jafari (Director, Intellectual Property Commercialization Office, iPARK, Royal Scientific Society in Jordan). The sessions also allowed us to exchange and share knowledge on the IP management with faculty and/or staff members in other Lebanese universities that are currently launching or developing technology offices,” explains Fadia Homeidan, Director of the Technology Transfer Unit and the Centre for Research and Innovation (CRInn) at the university.
“We have now developed a portfolio for AUB inventions and patents which we are seeking commercialization for. The document was shared with AUB’s Board of Trustees members and Board of Deans and AUB President, Professor Fadlo Khuri. The online portfolio is currently underway and will provide much-needed exposure and commercialization paths for AUB innovations.
Two of our inventions were selected to further their commercialization prospects in Europe through KiNNO. The inventors/faculty members met on many occasions with KiNNO team and were supported through desktop assessment of the technology portfolio and pitches and promising matches of these technologies were made.
We are grateful to Berytech for this amazing opportunity which allowed us to take part in the Next Society program: The Research to Innovation Lab: A Go-to-Market Coaching for Tech Transfer Officer. AUB’s TTU team was able to implement a lot of what they learned throughout the project and to improve its support for our innovations’ commercialization. Our gratitude goes also to Dr. Mohammed Al Jafari who was an amazing coach and supporter of our activities.”
THE NEXT SOCIETY is an open community of changemakers, entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, NGOs, public and private innovation, research, and economic development hubs from Europe and 7 Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia.
It aims at mobilizing, promoting, and reinforcing innovation ecosystems and economic development in the MENA region. To reach these goals, THE NEXT SOCIETY launched a four-year action plan (2017-2020), co-funded by the EU up to 90% for a global amount of EUR 7.8 million budget. It supports the emergence of talents and innovative leaders who will drive the next trends and usages by targeting startups, clusters, and technology transfer offices to accompany their development. www.thenextsociety.co
ANIMA Investment Network is an international economic development network that aims to work to the promotion and development of the Mediterranean. The ANIMA network brings together 80 members from 18 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area, including national and regional investment promotion and economic development agencies, business federations, innovation centers, international investors, and research institutes. ANIMA’s objective is to contribute to the continued improvement of the business and investment climate, as well as encourage shared and sustainable economic development in the Mediterranean. To know more about ANIMA Investment Network, please visit www.anima.coop.