Making Belgium the better place for industrial R&D
This was the motto of the BiR&D event that took place on Friday 3rd of February at UCB in Brussels, starting with an seminar, followed by the launch of the Interdisciplinary Master of Science Thesis Program Call 2012, and concluded by the submission of the Awards Call 2010 to 7 students:
Project URBIKE (The development of a system for urban electric scooters) from Université de Liège (Engineering, Architecture and Management), under coordination of Professor Aude Niffle.
The Awards went to the Masters: Angelo Anello, Ferdi Erden, Maxime Pastourel and Nicolas-Gaspard Braham.
Project SMARTCARE (Sparsity in processing biomedical signals) from Universiteit Antwerpen (Computer techniques and Economics) in collaboration with KULeuven (ESAT-Biomed) under coordination of Professor Annie Cuyt (UA).
The Awards went to the Masters: Sem Peelman, Jorge Sánchez Medina and Stefanie Turelinckx.
In the morning and afternoon sessions of the seminar called “Optimizing Industry-Academia collaboration”, more than 70 experts of Belgian Universities and industrial Research or IP managers discussed on the best routes to strengthen their research cooperation (see below).
Over lunch the specialized press was invited to learn about BiR&D.
Marc Van Den Neste, VP & CTO of AGC-Glass Europe and president of BiR&D commented:
“In a globalized knowledge economy, industrial research in Belgium needs to become stronger to protect the industrial operations of the internationally operating companies in our country. They are networking to exchange the best practice of R&D organization. But a substantial contribution will come from more long-term efficient collaboration between the industries, universities and research centers, in a spirit of professionalism and trust. That was the theme of our seminar today, bringing 70 experts together on research cooperation from our universities, major research centers and the BiR&D member companies.
Our 14 members do represent more than half of the industrial research in Belgium. In all our actions, we closely work with our partners, the professional employers organizations Agoria an essenscia”.
Ludo Lauwers, senior Vice-President of Janssen Pharmaceutica commented : “One of BiR&D’s first initiatives was to stimulate interdisciplinary teamwork at our universities and university colleges. We believe it is an extremely important skill that future researchers need for modern and innovative R&D. Since 2009, BiR&D annually reserves 70.000 EUR to support participating faculties in up to 6 selected projects as well as to provide excellence awards to the students participating in the winning projects, as is happening today”.
UCB hosted this event in their HQ in Brussels. Didier Malherbe, CEO of UCB Belgium, commented:
“We are happy to host this unique event. As a founding member of BiR&D, UCB is convinced that Belgium should strengthen the unique cards we have for industrial R&D, also by better exploiting the talents and expertise at our Universities in long-term cooperation partnerships.
Joining forces in the organizational aspects of R&D beyond the borders of industrial sectors and regions is a must in the current internationally competitive research environment”.
The day was concluded by a warm networking cocktail, where the industrial managers, University experts and rewarded master graduates continued the discussion in various languages for the future of Belgium as a good place for industrial research.
BiR&D Seminar at UCB, 3 February 2012
Optimizing Industry-Academia Collaboration
One of the prime objectives of BiR&D is to facilitate the research cooperation between industry, universities and other research centers throughout Belgium, in terms of the volume of cooperation, as well as for the effectiveness of the organization and the management of the results.
The industrial companies of BiR&D have the ambition to extend their long-term cooperation projects with research centers in the region, provided that they have a critical size in the required knowledge domain and that the terms for partnership are well balanced, in line with international references and coherent between the different centers in Belgium.
This seminar is the first where all Belgian Universities, major research centers and industrial experts come together in a brainstorming environment, in the first place aiming at better understanding each other ambitions and concerns, and in the second place to discuss a typical flexible framework for research contracts between industrial companies and university (or other) research institutes.
The seminar has been prepared by a working group of university experts and BiR&D-representatives. It covers major topics such as: Partnering and Valorisation, Management of Intellectual Property, legal contractual items, examples of partnerships and contracts.
More than 70 experts, including most Belgian Universities and some major research centers attended the introductory presentations from international university and industry experts, preliminary to discussions, in 7 working groups following the distinctive subjects.
The outcome of this seminar will provide the material for the follow-up seminar at P&G on the 21st of March. This has the ambition to come to a kind of consensus between the different parties flexible contractual framework for research-cooperation with international industrial companies in Belgium.
The seminar is hosted by UCB and co-chaired by Simon Dresse of UCB and André Convents of P&G.
"In an increasingly globalizing knowledge driven economy, the position of industrial research in Belgium needs to become stronger. A substantial contribution could come from more long-term collaboration between the industry and universities, in a spirit of trust. In addition, more students - in particular women-, should be attracted to engineering studies and research careers."
This was the main message that had been voiced at the lively seminar on Friday 18 March 2011, in the prestigious Bibliothèque Solvay in Brussels, in the presence of H.R.H Prince Philippe.
The event was organized by BiR&D (Belgian industrial R&D), an association of international companies, that have a leading research centre in Belgium: AGC-Glass Europe, Alcatel-Lucent, Atlas Copco, Bekaert, GSKBio, Janssen Pharmaceutica, OCAS-ArcelorMittal, P&G, Recticel, Solvay, Total Petrochemicals, UCB and Umicore.
Together they represent more than half of the industrial research effort in Belgium.
Their president, Dominique Neerinck, CTO of Bekaert, said: "By deploying diverse initiatives, we wish to contribute to the consolidation of the high level of industrial research in Belgium, in close cooperation with the professional organizations Agoria an essenscia."
With the presence of all Belgian Universities, as well as representatives of many research centers and governments, BiR&D has already demonstrated its ability to make the bridge.
In his keynote speech, Dr Jens Rostrup-Nielsen stressed the urgency for European countries such as Belgium, to strengthen the level of research, in the light of the enormous efforts being made by Asian countries. As the sole industrial representative in the European Research Council (ERC), he announced a new European program to support top research individuals or teams.
In an animated debate, a panel of top-representatives from the industry exchanged views with representatives of the Universities, about what would be the best course of action for the future: Léopold Demiddeleer of Solvay, president of EIRMA (European Industrial Research Management Association), Jean-François Heris, CEO AGC Glass Europe, Dr Ludo Lauwers (Senior Vice-President R&D, Janssen Pharmaceutica) en Jos Pinte (Directeur Mechatronica & Mechanica, Agoria and General Manager SIRRIS).
Accordingly, Egbert Lox, corporate R&D manager of Umicore, announced the third Call of BiR&D directed to Universities and Academic High-Schools, for the realization of Interdisciplinary Master of Science Thesis projects: a financial support package for projects whereby technical, human and economical science students work together on research topics that have a high technical, industrial as well as social relevance. A taste of the open multidisciplinary research environment of the future.
As laureates of the Call 2009, BiR&D elected three students from the Université Catholique de Louvain (Jean-Baptiste de Harenne, Gilles Hector, Ferdinand Terlinden) and two students from Universiteit Gent (Wim Bothuyne, Tom De Nies).
In a short award ceremony, Prince Philippe conferred the BiR&D Awards to the students present, after they had professionally presented the results of their team research work.