Horizon 2020 brings EU funding to innovation and research in Armenia

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s largest research and innovation programme, making nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020). Negotiations for Armenia’s participation in Horizon 2020 were concluded in 2015. On 19 May 2016, the Armenian Minister of Education and Science, Levon Mkrtchyan, and the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas, signed an Association Agreement for Armenia. Researchers and innovators from Armenia now have full access to Horizon 2020 under the same conditions as their counterparts from EU member states and other associated countries.

Until now Armenia had only been able to participate in Horizon 2020 as a third country. This meant that its entities did not count towards the minimum number of participants required for a project, thus restricting access to some important parts of the programme, such as support to innovative businesses and to key policy bodies.

Thanks to this agreement, research institutes, universities and individual researchers will now have access to all opportunities offered by Horizon 2020 in diverse areas on equal footing with researchers and organisations from EU member states and other countries associated with the programme. These areas include anything from fundamental science to demonstration projects. Armenian SMEs and businesses will also be able to benefit from increased support to develop new ideas and bring new products and services to the Armenian market. The Association Agreement covers 2016-2020 and opens up new opportunities for the country’s universities, research institutions and enterprises.

13327451_1034619629925299_7160437046587210032_nOn 2-3 June 2016, a launch workshop and information day devoted to Armenia’s association with Horizon 2020 was organised. The programme was presented with a particular focus on the new opportunities it brings by offering tools and networks for SMEs and joint research centre grants for scientific research and innovation.

Two workshop sessions on how to use European research and build on good practices discovered from other associated countries were held on 2 June. Later on the same day, a conference on “Supporting Innovation in Armenia” was held in Yerevan. InnovFin is a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services, which help innovative firms access finance more easily. Armenia gained access to InnovFin after joining Horizon 2020. The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, attended the event and underlined the EU’s support to the Armenian government’s efforts to build a knowledge-based economy in Armenia.

Ambassador Świtalski also attended the second day of the Horizon 2020 launch workshop on 3 June, and stressed the importance of research and innovation: ‘It’s a good day for the Armenian science and research community and a very good day for Europe. I am very glad that Armenia has decided to join Horizon 2020 – the biggest platform for supporting research and innovation. Armenia’s contribution to Horizon 2020 wasn’t easy to secure, but I hope it will help the country to grow and have tangible benefits. Horizon 2020 is a very important tool, but, as many of us know, the difficult part of it is to link ideas with practice with the market. We, at the EU, always remember that Armenia, in addition to Horizon 2020, decided also to join the COSME programme, which supports SMEs – this is a good tool to link research and the practical implementation of results.

The Chairman of the Armenian State Committee of Science of the Ministry of Education and Science, Samvel Harutyanyan, welcomed all the participants on behalf of his Minister, Levon Mkrtcyan: ‘The signing of the Association Agreement is the result of hard work by several ministries over the last three-four years, which will have very significant and important improvements for our scientific community, the development of science in general, and integration into the European research area’.
13310356_1034734349913827_4126740129540420325_nAfter the keynote speeches, discussion sessions started: the first one on the general scope of the Horizon2020 programme was moderated by Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia. The second one focused on COSME Programmes within the areas of climate change, energy and SMEs”.

Horizon 2020 facilitates promotion of excellent scientific and industrial leadership in tackling societal challenges through innovation, funding and networks offered by the EU. The goal for Armenia is to join the European scientific community to produce world-class research, remove barriers to innovation, and make it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in finding and delivering innovative solutions to social and economic priorities – both locally and globally.


The Hobbit project wants you

Big Data is one of the key assets of the future. However, the cost and effort required for introducing Big Data technology in a value chain is significant.

HOBBIT aims at abolishing the barriers in the adoption and deployment of Big Linked Data by European companies, by means of open benchmarking reports that allow them to assess the fitness of existing solutions for their purposes. These benchmarks are based on data that reflects reality and measures industry-relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with comparable results using standardized hardware.

Mastering the creation of value from Big Data will enhance European competitiveness, will result in economic growth and jobs and will deliver societal benefit. A key step towards abolishing the barriers to the adoption and deployment of Big Data is to provide European companies with open benchmarking reports that allow them to assess the fitness of existing solutions for their purposes.

However, achieving this goal demands:

  1. The deployment of benchmarks on data that reflects reality within realistic settings.
  2. The provision of corresponding industry-relevant key performance indicators (KPIs).
  3. The computation of comparable results on standardized hardware.
  4. The institution of an independent and thus bias-free organization to conduct regular benchmarks and provide the European industry with up-to-date performance results.

In one of its key tasks, HOBBIT will continuously collect various datasets (i.e., not limited to specific domains) as the base for benchmarks. Those data will initially be provided by the project industrial partners, and later on by members of the HOBBIT community. A data management plan will be used as a guideline when handling the data submitted by members of the HOBBIT community to the benchmarks.

Each year, we will update the data management plan, to reflect the wishes and needs of the community. In this initial plan, we discuss the envisioned data management lifecycle (how can data be added to the platform, how can it be accessed, and how long will it be kept?), as well as the details of the data management plan as they have been agreed upon by the consortium at this time.

To make the data discoverable and accessible, besides providing the generated benchmarks as dump files that can be loaded from the project repository, HOBBIT will also provide a SPARQL endpoint that will serve all the benchmark datasets. The HOBBIT SPARQL endpoint will enable the platform users to run their own queries against one or more benchmark(s) to obtain tailored benchmark(s) that fit exactly each user needs.

Data Management Lifecycle OverviewFigure 1. Data Management Lifecycle Overview

To keep the dataset submission process manageable, we host an instance of the CKAN open source data portal software, extended with custom metadata fields for the HOBBIT project. For the time being, this instance is hosted at http://hobbit.iminds.be/. When the benchmarking platform goes online, the CKAN instance will be moved there, to accommodate more space for datasets. Users who want to add a dataset of their own, first need to request to be added to an organization on the CKAN instance, after which they can add datasets to this organization http://projec-thobbit.eu/contacts/.

Datasets will be kept available on the HOBBIT platform for at least the lifetime of the project unless they are removed by their owners. After the project, the HOBBIT platform will be maintained by the HOBBIT Association, and so will the datasets. Owners may add or remove a dataset at any time.

We invite all stakeholders to publish data sets that are suitable for benchmarking via the HOBBIT CKAN site.

More about HOBBIT initial data management plan can be found here.

Other Hobbit resources and links.

A blog post concerning our project’s Preliminary Survey Results:
A blog post concerning our mini survey on Benchmarking RDF Query Engines:

A blog post concerning the Call for Papers of http://www.semantic-web-journal.net/
Special issue on Benchmarking Linked Data:

A blog post concerning Versioning for Big Linked Data: approaches and benchmarks

2 Tutorials and 1 workshop @ ISWC16, Kobe, Japan
a) Tutorial on Link Discovery – Algorithms, Approaches, and Benchmarks:
b) Tutorial on SPARQL Querying Benchmarks
c) Workshop on Benchmarking Linked Data (BLINK)


How the EU is Putting Gender Equality at the Heart of Horizon 2020

AAEAAQAAAAAAAANkAAAAJGQzZTZkMjA4LTNkZDgtNDYyZC1iMjVlLWU4NjdjNDEyODJlNw.jpg   Research impact communications

At the dawn of a post-Brexit Britain many scientists have looked to the EU’s flagship Horizon 2020 scheme, one which aims to invest a staggering €80 billion in innovation to help Europe secure a competitive edge in the research worldwide, and wondered whether the UK’s decision to leave the EU is one which is jeopardising the funding promised to advance cutting edge technology throughout the continent.

One thing’s for sure: Horizon 2020 has made gender equality the hallmark of its campaign and has focused on policies, management strategies, and both hiring and funding practices in order to make parity between men and women the heart of every step the scientific arm of the EU takes. From 2014 to 2020, the Work Programme will fund initiatives and research to ensure the cutting-edge of innovation in Europe is competitive with the rest of the world and that women are equally represented.

Part of the international Horizon 2020 programme is to build a foundation of gender equality, with organisers setting their sights on three targets which aim to be fulfilled congruent to the outcomes of the research and innovation-centric project. The framework outlined by the programme will set the stage for further advances in female participation, with Horizon 2020 representing a new chapter in equality-focused research and innovation.

The first of these is to create an environment in which female representation is equal to that of men by fostering gender parity in the hiring of researchers. In order to secure the participation of women Horizon 2020 hopes to facilitate a cross-over between academia and frontline research so that labs around Europe will see gender equality, and close the ever increasing gap between male and female scientists.

Panels and advisory boards are vital to the effective advancement of science and innovation and as such the programme also aims to ensure female representation is adequate on those groups which make key decisions on behalf of governmental and international research bodies. A target of 40% has been set for groups and for those boards which have a direct advisory capacity, and 50% for panels. Involving women in key decision-making at this level is likely to help support Horizon 2020 achieve its gender goals.

Third and finally, the project aims to bring gender dimension to all activity. From innovative discoveries to research councils, laboratories, and universities, Horizon 2020 will stress the importance of female voices at all stages of science, arguing that differing gender opinions will directly improve the quality of research undertaken and also increase the societal relevance of information.

While this commitment to gender equality can be commended, the ineffective application could stand as a major barrier in the way of improved female representation in STEM. Of the total fund, a portion will be earmarked to fund strategic approaches to gender equality through Research Performing Organisations and Research Funding Organisations.

Both play a fundamental role in the research pipeline and by funding initiatives within their governing bodies and application processes, under Horizon 2020 the European Commission continues to make strides against discrimination at a decision-making level and also for female advancement in industry-leading careers. By supporting parity within research organisations and ensuring companies have appropriate equality plans, Horizon 2020 also ensures an integration of content which provides a gender dimension.

In the long term, and at the conclusion of Horizon 2020 it is expected that those activities which positively impact gender equality through academia and the industry will result in actions that help universities and research groups reach a critical mass of women resulting in balanced representation and affect hiring practices into the future.

By targeting STEM at an international, national, and regional level, as well as inciting grass-roots innovation in gender equality, Horizon 2020 stands by its commitment to the disparity between the sexes and hopes to alter the attitudes and approaches to women in science further citing an objective improvement in research quality as a result.

The aim is to stem the leaks in the pipeline which often sees female talent lost from research and innovation activities. By encouraging the study of STEM subjects for girls and helping with the transition to world-leading research for those that wish to pursue a career in any aspect of science, gender inequality in STEM can be faced head-on.

Use discount code ‘HODOS10’ to claim 10% off your tickets.

For more information about equality in research and innovation visit the STEM Gender Equality Congress 2017, and check out www.stemgenderequality.comfor more information  to register for the congress. 

Use discount code ‘HODOS10’ to claim 10% off your tickets.


European Commission, 2016 ‘Horizon 2020: Promoting Gender Equality in Research and Innovation’.

9 Tips to improve your Eurostars application

Reposted from – https://www.eurostars-eureka.eu/improve-your-horizon2020-eurostars-application

The principle of a Eurostars call is the following: to receive funding from Eurostars for your research project, you have to fill in an application form. This can be done from the opening of the call to the call’s published deadline, which is approximately 2-3 months.

A central evaluation of the applications we have received is done according to criteria agreed on by all participating countries. Those criteria are publicly available and the evaluation is done by a panel of international experts renowned in their field.

A Eurostars call should be seen as a competition, and the output of this competition is like for any other one a ranking list, where the experts decide which of the projects are the very best according to their overall quality.

Here are some general tips to improve the quality of your project proposal:

1. You have someone to talk to, do it!

Your first step should always to contact the Eurostars offices in your country. The National Project Coordinator (NPC) is there to guide you through the application process and provide guidelines on the national funding rules and procedures. He will be able to provide you with up-to-date information. You can find them here.

2. Don’t overlook the Basics.

Your project application will be read by different persons from different countries, be sure that they are able to understand you. It is about properly justifying and explaining your business idea. Your project application must be detailed but concise. Nobody will invest in you if they don’t know what you are talking about.

Proofread your content: If you cannot spell your own name or email properly, it doesn’t instill confidence that you can handle a millions euro of funding. Don’t forget proofreading is the simplest and cheapest way of improving your application form.

3. Are you Eurostars?

Does your project and company profile fit in the Eurostars criteria? Your project must be innovative in terms of products, services or processes. Every Eurostars project should have at least two project participants from two different Eurostars countries. The project leader must be an R&D performing SME (link to definition). Other types of participants are welcome (University, Research Institute, SME….) Your project must have a civilian purpose and be completed in 36 months or less.

Eurostars does not select which technologies should be put forward; it lets you decide which technology you want to develop.

4.Be healthy!

Now the question of the financial health of project participants is a tricky one. The general rule would be that you must be able to demonstrate a good financial health. Nevertheless, this will depend on your company’s role in the partnership and the project you have submitted. Has a company the leading role and bad financial health, the chances of not getting selected is very high. On the other hand is the project highly innovative and the partner with financial uncertainties only has a minor role, there may be some chance of being selected.

5. It is a team effort!

A Eurostars project is about an innovation not just about you. It is a team effort to bring an innovation to the market. The consortium must be well balanced: no project participant should be responsible for more than 75% of the projects costs. Here is a tip: since bringing the innovation to the market is a team effort, you must have a project coordinator. Outline that the coordinator has sufficient managerial skills to improve the quality of your project proposal

6. Take a risk!

Project proposal with high innovative and technological risks have higher chances to be evaluated in a positive way by the Eurostars experts. But these risks must have been properly assessed and addressed.

7. Intellectual Property Rights!

Having a detailed but concise explanation on how the IPR will be exploited is a big plus and will be welcomed by the Eurostars experts.

8. Don’t neglect Market and commercialization!

The market and commercialization part of your project proposal mustn’t be taken lightly. It is a central part of your proposal. Be sure to answer this part in a detailed and comprehensive manner.

9. Guidelines!

Read them. They are here to help you with all the different steps of your project life. You can find them here.

If you need help with all the different steps don’t hesitate to contact your NPC or directly ask a question to the Eurostars Department of the EUREKA Network.

By no means, these tips will guarantee that your project will receive funds. These are general advice to help you improve your project proposal. The EUREKA Secretariat and the Eurostars department are not responsible for the decision made by the independent expert panel regarding the project evaluation.

Carlos Moedas wants to make Europe’s research and innovation systems Open to the World

Reposted from The mindset of openness by Carlos Moedas – Commissioner Research, Science, and Innovation

Openness and the sharing of knowledge, investment insights, and business advice are all the norm in Silicon Valley. Here in Europe, many have tried to create similar environments with varying success – whether it’s promoting clusters, or providing incentives for industry-research cooperation.

But there is one area that we too often neglect and that’s how we promote openness and the sharing of knowledge in science, to help turn the solutions and innovations that come out of scientific research into viable businesses.

This is why initiatives like Startup Europe comes to Silicon Valley (SEC2SV) are so important. They bring together the best European entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, to exchange views with some of the leading visionaries there, so that their ideas can be challenged and refined before becoming new products.

The open and iterative mode of innovation is key especially in developing businesses that merge the physical and digital. The users are empowered to use digital tools to transform their offline experience. One of the SEC2SV 2016 participants, Metail, is doing just that – using full body 3D scanning to enhance online shopping experience. This is another example of how digitalization can bring about customization, boost user engagement and give smaller players the capacity to take on the big incumbents.

Washington D.C. and San Francisco are almost 3000 miles apart; Brussels is also physically very distant from key places in Europe where innovation happens. This is a special challenge for research and innovation policy. We need to build and maintain bridges between innovators and policymakers, to ensure relevance of the policies and understanding of technological trends.

Our entrepreneurs have long preceded us in building these connections – and now, with events such as European Innovation Day in Silicon Valley we hope to keep a strong communication channel with the Valley. We would like it to be an open discussion, with entrepreneurs exploring business opportunities across the Atlantic and giving us feedback on how to create a better environment in Europe, making our policy process also more open and iterative.

My vision for making Europe a better environment for innovation is about three elements. First of all, to improve the quality of EU’s innovation support, we are working to develop a European Innovation Council, which could deliver better support for market-creating innovation through simpler, faster and more bottom-up access to our funding schemes. Secondly, we would like to increase supply of risk capital for our best businesses through the launch of a Fund of Funds that could invest in a combination of early stage, later stage and expansion stage venture capital funds, above 500 million euro. Finally, we are committed to making sure our regulatory framework is fit for purpose, and follows a process which considers the innovation impact. I remain committed to these and I am always open for suggestions on how to take these ideas further.

As a part of my agenda, I also want to make Europe’s research and innovation systems Open to the World. The most successful companies are often defined by their global reach, mostly accomplished at the very outset. This is why I encourage exchanges with global innovation hubs such as Silicon Valley, and I will lend my support also to future editions of SEC2SV.

Within my mandate, my intention is to try and promote as much as possible the mindset of openness. To improve our policies we need to open up our science, empower our entrepreneurs to pursue opportunities of the new economy and engage the community of users – just like the budding entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

Read the original post

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It pays to pay!

aaeaaqaaaaaaaarvaaaajgrkmja5odzhlthjytmtndm1nc05mdizlwfjnti4otc1ogq1oa Bert Beck – Research associate

Why researchers that pay to get published are not mad.

Researchers are an odd race. Like journalists, they write articles. Their articles might have less sexy topics than those of journalists (see framed text for a great example), but nonetheless, they are well-written pieces of text, backed up by excellent graphs of their painstakingly collected data. But unlike journalists, researchers don’t get paid for writing them. They usually write their articles for free. Moreover, in recent times, some researchers actually started paying their publishers to get their articles published! And they’ve got good reasons to do so.

It really pays to pay!


Let’s start at the very beginning. Most scientific research articles are published in peer-reviewed* journals. Some of those journals have acquired such prestige that they are known by the general public (e.g. Science, Nature, the Lancet).

In traditional academic publishing, authors do not pay for publishing their work in such journals. It’s the readers that get charged for the costs of peer review, editing and publishing. But since the 90’s a new business model appeared: Open Access publishing.

In Open Access publishing, it’s the author that pays the costs for reviewing, editing and publishing. The reader gets the article for free. And that has its’ advantages:

  • The visibility of research output of individual researchers and institutions increases; research impact increases.
  • Funding agencies get a better return on investment due to increased impact of funded research.
  • Researchers waste less time seeking articles they cannot access.
    Duplication of research can be more effectively avoided.
  • Scientific libraries within research institutions have to spend less money on traditional journal subscriptions. Instead, they can use their available money for setting up online repositories for Open Access publications, which gives them a much wider audience.
  • Publishers that adopt OA obtain more exposure for their publications.
  • Companies (especially SMEs) can innovate faster by gaining immediate access to free research results.

So, the author benefits, their funders benefit and society benefits. No wonder the largest EU research fund, Horizon 2020, has made writing articles under an Open Access regime mandatory.

However, the story does not end here.

While Open Access is gaining more and more ground, researchers and funding agencies around the world are already pounding at the gates of a new realm of scientific openness: the realm of Open Data!


*During peer review an author submits his text to experts in the same field (=the author’s peers). Most often, this peer review is completely blind, meaning that the author does not know which experts review his text, and the experts don’t know who the author of the text is. This practice guarantees the impartiality of the review and is accomplished through an intermediary person, the editor of the journal in which the author wishes to publish.

This article was written as part of the ICT-AGRI project and first posted on LinkedIn

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Turbulence ahead – Brexit fears for UK aerospace R&D


Lee Hibbert – Industry analyst and PR content director at global B2B agency Technical Associates Group

A visit to the recent Farnborough air show came as a timely reminder of the collaborative nature of the aerospace sector. Most of the major players had stands that bore the fruits of successful pan-European research and development activity, from airframes to engines, through to landing gear and ejector seats.

One organisation, in particular, shone out as a beacon of what can be achieved when companies from different countries come together to share knowledge and ideas. Clean Sky, established in 2008, is the most ambitious aeronautical research programme ever launched in Europe. Its mission has been to develop breakthrough technologies to significantly increase the environmental performances of airplanes and air transport, resulting in less noisy and more fuel efficient aircraft, hence bringing a key contribution in achieving the Single European Sky environmental objectives.

The results of that activity were on display for all to see at Farnborough. Partners Rolls-Royce from the UK and Safran based in France gave details of five engine demonstrators that integrated new technologies for low fuel consumption, whilst reducing noise levels and nitrous oxides. One of them was a highly-innovative contra-rotating open rotor prototype, which featured uncased blades positioned on two stages that rotate in opposite directions. Such a design promises increased propulsive efficiency relative to existing turbofans, resulting in lower emissions over the same journey.

Airbus, meanwhile, gave details of its collaboration with Italian firm Alenia, which had resulted in low-weight and high-performance structures for regional aircraft, incorporating all-electric systems and bleed-less engine architectures. Again, valuable collaborative research which could lead to a step-change in the efficiency of next-generation aircraft.

All these Clean Sky undertakings were funded by the European Union through the multi-billion euro Horizon 2020 innovation programme. Clean Sky brings together 500 partners from 24 European countries, with UK firms playing a central role in the research activities.

That brings us, worryingly, to Brexit. Farnborough took place a couple of weeks after the UK referendum, and the monumental decision to leave the EU was the talk of the show. The aerospace sector of the UK is the second-largest national aerospace industry in the world and the largest in Europe, with a global market share of 17% in 2015. It didn’t get to that position through isolation. It was achieved through partnership, collaboration, and the extensive sharing of knowledge.

So what now, asked almost everyone at Farnborough? What happens to the UK’s involvement in Horizon 2020? Would UK participation in projects such as Clean Sky be allowed to wither on the vine? Already, there has been much anecdotal evidence of UK-based researchers being cut out of European joint funding applications. Is that our future, writ large?

Of course, with the dust still settling after the Brexit decision, it’s impossible to answer any of these questions with any level of certainty. We will have to wait and see. But as Farnborough showed, concerns and doubts are there. The aerospace sector, from research and development all the way through to industrialisation, relies on long-term visibility and planning. And sadly in the UK at the moment, those sorts of criteria are proving to be in very short supply.

Author: Lee Hibbert, Industry Analyst and Content Director, Technical Publicity (Editor of Professional Engineering, February 2010 – January 2016)

Follow Lee on Twitter for all the latest engineering insights: https://twitter.com/leehibbert1.

More blogs here: http://www.technical-publicity.com/

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Genentech — the start of alliances between large pharmaceutical companies & startups, biotech beginnings

To learn more about Genentech adventure, read Sally Smith Hughes –
Genentech, the beginnings of Biotech


Understanding the historical context of industries’ yesteryear provide a better understanding of their workings today. Their successes and failures are often inherited from past political, social and technical emergence.

The production and protection of knowledge, including the significant role of intellectual property, are also key to their success today.

This article aims to outline the emergence of biotechnology through the lens of a methodological framework. Unfolding during a time marked by the start of open innovation and the necessity of exploring large technological uncertainties, most pharmaceutical companies were risk averse.

The race for the production of recombinant human insulin technology (bacteria), through genetic manipulation, was taking hold during the 80s between the laboratories of Stanford and University of California San Francisco and elsewhere in the United States (Harvard).

A few years earlier, two professors, founders of recombinant DNA technology and fathers of the biotech adventure — Boyer and Cohen — began a collaboration that would push the frontiers of genetic recombination.

As regulation of the industry advanced, both professors saw the fraction between the entrepreneurial and academic worlds. They will help to unite this fraction over the coming years.

The professors continued to work in their respective labs, Boyer founded Genentech while Cohen became a board advisor for Cetus, another biotech startup initiated by a group of scientists.

The reduction of uncertainties related to feasibility
Genentech, anticipating the National Institute of Health regulations, took a technological bet to focus on the manipulation of synthetic DNA rather than the human DNA, subject to more stringent handling and operating conditions. The ethical code of the NIH oversaw publically funded research initially within the areas of the leading players. This was amended due to national competitiveness, regulatory frameworks (including the production limit) accompanied the industrialization of these biotech pioneers.

The reduction of business uncertainty
There was never big questions about the use of that technology. Insulin was only the beginning of the vast horizon of technology applications driven by Genentech. With a “lean” approach, Genentech first crystallized media attention by initiating a scientific challenge, to create somatostatin showing recombinant technology of DNA. This is human insulin, with

This is human insulin, with a direct market application from technology, which became the quest of this scientific and entrepreneurial adventure. Genentech “scientific knowledge, technical expertise and motivation were key assets to successfully compete with the labs launched in the same race.”*

Only the legal environment could have made the business venture fail. the case study Diamond vs Chakrabatry (an engineer from GE initiator of the first patents on life designed by a human) opens up the industry applications within which Genentech had a strategic positioning. It had been a precursor shaping the intellectual property landscape all along.

A ground-breaking collaboration between Genentech and Lilly, a respected international manufacturer of insulin, introduced for the first time a collaborative scheme between a large industry player and a startup within the pharmaceutical industry. Scientists in the startup conducted research which was too applied for the academic world and too early stage for a classical pharmaceutical company.

The collaboration model included pre-financing, commercial licenses and funding dependent on the success of a twenty-year research and development program with Genentech and contractual protection from one application of their technology. It would be initially limited to only the industrial application of insulin production. In exchange, Lilly held an exclusive contract for this technology and the associated effort to transform industrial processes.

Common interests and common objective are both clearly identifiable in the collaboration. On one hand, it is an indispensable partnership strategy for Genentech to challenge an industry where sometimes powerful players are a century old and for the insulin company a first direct application of technology with high business value. This offers a strong position for Lilly who does not want to risk losing its insulin production market, historically derived from natural animal insulin extraction.

Lilly initially bet on two competing technology scenarios, one fronted by Genentech and the other by the laboratory, City of Hope.

Genentech’s design ecosystem, key individuals
Boyer, UCSF microbiology laboratory and radiation expert, is a cornerstone of this ecosystem and a talent acquisition vehicle for Genentech, acting as a direct bridge with the academic world and its laboratories. Boyer is a key element to streamline research costs of the early biotech adventure.

Swanson, a former biologist at MIT who moved to the MIT Sloan Management school and co-founder of Boyer, declared “We built bridges between the academic and industrial worlds and forged a network helping us maintain our proven technical leadership position within the academic and industrial groups who pursue molecular biology applications. “

He is the entry point of an emerging ecosystem of Venture Capitalists, after having forged his weapons in the Valley and through previous experiences in this world. Until the mid-80s, it remained the architect of alliances and partnerships between the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry. Genentech continued to lead integration capabilities as an end to end pharmaceutical player, including research and development, certification, production, marketing and creating new markets.

Kiley, counsel, having adapted to the needs of the startup in its infancy, built its knowledge base on Genentech. Kiley raised awareness very early amongst its protagonists, of the contractual and intellectual property that enabled the design of industrial linkages and research of Genentech with its ecosystem.

Follow the story which traces the IPO and the entrance to capital and buyouts by large pharmaceutical in the iconic biotech adventure (one tip on the future of the adventure, Roche is today’s owner).

* The words of the author Sally Hughes Smith — Genentech

First posted on Medium by 

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Become a Horizon 2020 proposal evaluator

Did you know that project proposals applying for funding under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme are evaluated by independent experts? In this video 11 experts explain what it is like to be an evaluator and what is the benefit for them.
If you are interested in working as an expert evaluator, please register in the European Commission’s database:

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