EIC Innovation Training Workshop: Connecting research to the real world
On 13 and 14 May the European Innovation Council hosted an Innovation Training Workshop for projects from the EIC Pathfinder programme, previously known as Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme. During these two days, the first Business Acceleration Services-event dedicated to Pathfinder researchers, 13 participants had the opportunity to help shape their research ideas and bring it into a concrete business concept.
The Pathfinder programme invests in transformative frontier research and innovation with a high potential impact on technology, to benefit our economy and society. Under this scheme, participants from both Pathfinder Open, which supports a bottom-up approach for exploring novel and visionary ideas, and Pathfinder Proactive, which fosters transformative research through a set of focused thematic initiatives, had the opportunity to participate in the EIC Innovation Training Workshop.
In this two-day online event participants had the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of finding suitable market segments and translating your research into a viable product or service. Through modules like ‘Technology Validation and product-market fit process’ ‘Business Recognition and Market Data’ and ‘Exploitation and Commercialization’ the researchers were able to cover a wide scope of concepts.
Bridging the gap
George Butler, Business Development Manager from the project ‘Levitate’, saw that there was a gap between business development and his research team and decided to apply to the Innovation Training Workshop: “I’m more customer facing, the R&D team is looking at another direction. These two days gave me ideas on how to bridge the gap between us, creating a way to validate the product and achieve a more business orientated vision.” Debora Zrinscak, PhD-student from the project ‘HybridHeart’, recognizes that it is easy to get lost into your research: “As a researcher you take a deep dive into your ideas. Having this workshop is a very useful tool to give you some perspective. If we want to develop something real, something that changes lives, then we have to take that into account from the beginning.” Connecting their research to the real world was also the key motivation for the researcher at CEA and part of the Magenta Project Saco Nakamea: “Its an eye opener to see how we are able to connect our research in a sustainable fashion”. Eleni Kroupi, Neuroscience Research Engineer at Starlab, was already in the process of identifying their customers segments and making a push for the market. The training was nonetheless very useful for her: “Today was a great opportunity for us to review our market analysis. Are we doing it correct, did we miss anything or are there certain areas open for improvement?”
In addition to covering several different modules, the participants also received training on their pitching skills. For some, like Saco, it proved to be their first pitching experience. “I’ve never pitched before. Everything I learned is new, so it has been very useful. The fact that it was just a small dedicated group was great for this format. I had plenty of opportunity to ask questions.” In addition to honing their own skills, the researchers had the opportunity to observe each other and learn from their pitches. Debora: “Having the opportunity to watch others pitch was especially valuable. All in all a great tool for projects like ours”.
Are you a Pathfinder-researcher interested in bridging the gap between research and market? In the upcoming months the EIC will organize more events for Pathfinder-researchers alike. Please keep your eye on the EIC Community and BAS Calendar for more information and future events.