Talking Tech Transfer

Holiday break

We’re taking some time off to celebrate the end of 2022 but will be back in the new year. Thank you to all our guests this year and all those who have listened and subscribed.

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Bernhard Weber: University of Graz

Bernhard Weber is the managing director of Unicorn, the innovation hub of University of Graz which opened its doors to spinouts and startups in April 2021. Unicorn offers co-working space and runs programmes like Spin-Off Lab and Startup Werkstatt, which support researchers and fledgling entrepreneurs, and it taps into the EU ecosystem through its participation in healthtech-, greentech- and smart city-focused programme Urban Tech.

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Vilma Purienė: Vilnius Tech

Lithuania is a relatively small country of just under 3 million people that only regained independence in 1990. It’s also only started taking tech transfer seriously over the past decade, but in that time has seen exponential growth.

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Randi Elisabeth Taxt: VIS

Randi Elisabeth Taxt is the senior adviser at VIS, the regional tech transfer office for Vestlandet (its owners include University of Bergen, Haukeland University Hospital, the Institute of Marine Research, Siva, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and NHH Norwegian Business School) and she tells us about the history of tech transfer in the country, which means its regional approach emerged organically.

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Ole Kristian Hjelstuen: Inven2

Ole Kristian Hjelstuen is the chief executive of Inven2, the tech transfer organisation owned by University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, which doesn’t just handle all of the typical research commercialisation aspects but also manages clinical trials at its partner institutions (which include all the health trusts in the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority).

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Simon Bond: Bristol Innovations

Today is Simon Bond’s first day as director of Bristol Innovations, an initiative launched by University of Bristol earlier this year to accelerate entrepreneurship among its researchers, students and staff. Bond joins from SETsquared, the global number one incubator backed by the universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, which he had led since 2014.

Bond tells us what attracted him to the new job and why it’s less of a goodbye and more of a deep dive with colleagues he’d already been collaborating with for years. He ponders what makes Bristol so successful at spinouts (a report earlier this year found its spinouts generate far above the average UK return per pound invested) and what lessons learned around diversity, equity and inclusion he learned at SETsquared that he hopes to apply in the new job.

He also talks about the importance of inspirational founders who are giving back to the ecosystem, like Science Creates founder Harry Destecroix, and why quantum, immersive media and telecoms are some of the sectors that Bristol Innovations will focus on.

Douglas Hansen-Luke: Future Planet Capital

Douglas Hansen-Luke launched Future Planet Capital in 2015 after 18 months researching the then-nascent university venturing scene and over the past seven years has built an impact-led global innovation investment platform that is active in ecosystems around MIT, Stanford, Oxford and others around the world.

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Mary Albertson: Georgia Tech

Mary Albertson became director of the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) at Georgia Tech in July 2022, having previously worked for University of Utah’s PIVOT Center and having spent the majority of her career working at Stanford University for nearly 27 years. She’s been president of AUTM and received its President’s Award in 2015 for her long-standing service.

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Yasser Biaz: UM6P Ventures

Yasser Biaz is the chief executive of UM6P Ventures, the venture fund of University Mohammed VI Polytechnic in Morocco, and he joins us today to talk about why it focuses on deeptech and builds and invests not just in spinouts from its home institution or even just across the country, but throughout Africa and beyond.

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Duncan Johnson: Northern Gritstone

Duncan Johnson, chief executive of Northern Gritstone, is on a mission to turn the north of England into an ecosystem that rivals Silicon Valley. He’s raising £500m to do that (he’s £215m of the way there already) — money that will go not only into spinouts from the firm’s three founding universities (Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield) but into businesses throughout northern England.

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