Results from a long-term survey and review of the ELIXIR Innovation and SME Forums - specialised events for life science companies and academics - have revealed an overwhelmingly positive impact of the events, with over 93% of participants stating they would recommend the events to colleagues.
During the course of the ELIXIR-EXCELERATE project, which ran between August 2014 and 2019, seven Innovation and SME Forum events were held across Europe. These events attracted around 600 participants with a nearly equal split between academia and industry. Topics for the events were broad and covered data-driven innovation in rare diseases, food and nutrition, industrial biotechnology and more.
The main aim of these forums is to provide networking opportunities between attendees, bridging the gap between academia and industry within the field of interest, to showcase to industry the services that ELIXIR offers, and to hear from data-intensive companies that use public data resources. Based on the results of the survey, on average 84% of people found that there was sufficient networking time, allowing them to form new connections with other attendees, which may blossom into collaborations in the future.
One such example of a successful collaboration as a result of attending the ELIXIR Innovation and SME Forum comes from BC Platforms, a genomic data management and analysis company. After attending the ‘Genomics and health - global resources for local innovation’ forum in Helsinki and networking with academics from ELIXIR Finland at the CSC - IT Center for Science, a collaborative project was established. The progress of this collaboration was subsequently presented two years later at another ELIXIR Innovation and SME Forum on ‘Genomics and associated data in National healthcare initiatives’ in Stockholm, Sweden. The full details of the collaboration are included in ‘Supporting innovation in bioinformatics’ publication.
While the ELIXIR-EXCELERATE project has come to a close, the results of this survey prove that these events are a worthwhile investment and benefit the scientific communities, both in academia and industry. Funding will continue for these events and there are several Upcoming Forums scheduled over the next year, with more in the pipeline. Here are the upcoming Innovation and SME forums:
- Distributed data analysis - the (health) data train
- 10 - 11 October 2019 | Utrecht, Netherlands
- Data management in the life sciences - a driver for innovation
- 27 - 28 November 2019 | Milan, Italy
- FAIRplus Innovation and SME Forum: Implementing FAIR data principles in industrial life science research
- 29 - 30 January 2020 | Hixton, United Kingdom
- Data driven innovation in the agritech sector
- 24 - 25 March 2020 | Lyon, France
All events are free to attend, and offer the opportunity to learn from and network with experts in the field. Andreas Hausmann from HPE Aruba agrees: “ELIXIR is a very interesting initiative for companies like HPE because the members are top notch in their field. The Innovation and SME events help us to understand user requirements and challenges. After participating in the ELIXIR Innovation and SME event we are now in contact with two companies that have a huge demand in faster, but affordable compute platforms to discuss next steps of engagement. They have a problem and we have the tools to support them.”
If you are interested in hosting an event please contact ELIXIR’s Industry Officer katharina.lauer [at] elixir-europe.org (subject: Enquiry%20about%20hosting%20an%20ELIXIR%20Innovation%20and%20SME%20Forum) (Katharina Lauer).