“We want to strengthen researchers’ ability to utilise their research.”
1 March 2018
Hello, Moa Fransson – director of the Mentor4Research programme at UU Innovation that has now commenced its third round of the programme for researchers who want to know more about commercialisation and assess their research in relation to the needs and challenges of industry and society.
For those who are not familiar with Mentor4Research, can you explain what it is?
“It’s a mentoring programme for researchers who are interested in commercialisation and curious to know the position of their research with relation to the needs and challenges of industry and society. What is usually needed is someone who can look at their work with completely new eyes and this is where the mentors and their knowledge and contacts come in. Researchers have a solid academic network and through Mentor4Research, we can give them an equally strong network in industry.”
What can you tell us about this year’s group?
“Interest in our programme is growing every year, so we now have as many as eighteen researchers which is fantastic. They are researchers from all fields of science and they are a diverse group of individuals in other ways too with different ideas about what they want to achieve through their research and that is exactly how we want it. The most important thing, and what they all have in common, is the desire to turn their research into something that can be of use outside the world of academia.”
And the mentors...?
“They constitute an experienced and dedicated bunch of people and half of them are alumni from Uppsala University which we are particularly pleased about. The matching process is critical so every year we need to find mentors who are individually suited to the participants with respect to experience, knowledge of the industry and network. We are always interested in linking new people to the programme so anyone who thinks it sounds exciting to share their knowledge, experience and network with researchers who want to broaden their horizons is welcome to contact us.”
What activities will the researchers take part in during the course of the programme?
“In addition to regular one-to-one meetings with their mentor, the researchers will take part in a number of different workshops which will provide them with methods and tools that are useful for the commercialisation process and when collaborating with industry. For example, they will learn how to identify and manage intangible assets and about presentation skills. They will also meet many exciting people who are part of the mentors’ networks and they will take part in various conferences and trade fairs.”
How great is the need for this kind of mentoring programme?
“Many researchers find it a challenge to know firstly, what aspect of their research can be utilised and secondly, how that could be done. This is where Mentor4Research plays an important role. We provide them with new perspectives, knowledge, networks and inspiration and our aim is to give everyone the chance to find their own way forward. To put it simply, we want to strengthen the researchers' ability, on the basis of their own preconditions, to utilise their research. We are confident that in the long run, this will lead to more ideas being developed and commercialised or made accessible in some other way outside the academic community.”