External engagement, utilisation and innovation are to be considered a qualification in future appointments at the Faculty of Medicine. Course components on innovation and value creation are also to be included in training for both doctoral students and associate professors.
“No other faculty of medicine in the country offers anything like it”, says Roland Andersson, vice-dean responsible for innovation and translational research.
In recent years, the universities’ responsibility to ensure that their research findings benefit society has been particularly emphasised, including in the research bill last autumn. The same notion is what inspired Roland Andersson and the Faculty of Medicine to establish the Life Science Innovation Board Skåne in 2015. The board includes representatives from the faculty and other parts of LU as well as from Region Skåne and industry.
In order to ensure external engagement, it must be clear that this is called for and rewarded by the faculty. The innovation board quickly realised this, and it will now be put into practice.
“External engagement will be included in vacancy announcements as a stated requirement. Successful applicants ‘shall’ be involved in external engagement, utilisation and innovation”, says Roland Andersson.
He emphasises that external engagement is not the same as the University’s third-stream activities, which (as a complement to research and education) refers to the dissemination of knowledge in the form of various outreach activities. Such activities are more about popular science than about transforming research findings into patents and products.
Training in this area will soon be available. An appointment is to be made to a part-time position as a coordinator to coordinate study components for doctoral students and associate professors. There will be two compulsory training days for both groups, as well as elective courses on innovation, value creation, and commercialisation of research. These will probably be launched in spring 2018.
“For doctoral students, we also want to create opportunities for internship at life science companies in the region. We have received a positive response from the industry, which recognises the opportunity of finding new members to their team through this collaboration”, says Roland Andersson.
Through this, the Life Science Innovation Board Skåne has achieved its initial goal. However, the board will continue to serve at the joint request of its members.
Innovation director at LU Innovation Linus Wiebe is pleased about the Faculty of Medicine’s investment in innovation.
“I am impressed that the faculty has turned its ideas in this area into practice. They have worked in a very forward-looking and serious way”, he says.
“Surely, every LU employee is aware of the opportunities of industry collaboration. But it’s another thing to be rewarded for this and that it could be used to help build a career. This is an incredibly important step that creates substance to these activities.”