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BBaS

BBaS – Bridging Business and Science

Linking academia and industry for innovation

The transfer of knowledge across sectors of society and cultures is something all governments need to foster. But the methods used to transfer skills differ in different countries and the levels of success are varied. The BBaS project was devised to address problems of knowledge transfer (KT) between universities and industry to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation in the participating regions. By bringing together institutions from five EU regions it aims to find best practice and a coherent approach to knowledge transfer across Europe.

BBaS is part of the Business Growth arm of the GROW programme. The project is led by the University of Surrey (UK), working with partners from Poland, Spain and the Netherlands and an observer from Italy. It brings together academics, industry representatives and KT professionals in support of the EU goals of innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development.

Universities and industry represent distinct organisational cultures, and academics and business people interact too little. BBaS creates a bridge between these two cultures and gathers more than 140 people from both sides of the bridge to plan collaborative, multinational research and innovation projects in biotechnology and health, environment, IT and new materials.

Activities have been based on ‘study tours’ at universities in four towns – Guildford (UK), Eindhoven (NL), Cordoba (ES) and Krakow (PL). At each event 12 academics and 12 representatives of industry, mainly SMEs and young entrepreneurs, were guided by KT professionals in planning collaborative research leading to innovation in their business.

The results are impressive. Five SMEs (two from South East England (UK), two from Nord-Brabant (NL) and one from Andalcía (ES)) have started collaboration with researchers from Eindhoven, Krakow, Brighton and Surrey.

Four proposals involving SMEs and academics from all the partner regions were submitted in spring 2007 to the first calls from the FP7 EC research funding programme. Many new networks have been created across regions between SMEs and academics.

Young entrepreneurs from Krakow have expressed amazement at the innovation and knowledge transfer work being done in Surrey and Eindhoven and are now prepared to press ahead with their own ideas. Some SME directors who had previously seen universities as ‘ivory towers’ have had their eyes opened to the level of innovative, practical work being carried out there.

“It is exciting to see barriers being broken down between people from different professional environments and to show them how they can benefit from working together,” said Dr Sophie Stos from the University of Surrey.

Looking ahead, Eindhoven is to introduce its entrepreneurship teaching programme at the University of Cordoba in Andalucía. Dr Stos said the project partners would try to get more funding to continue the project and build on the experience gained. Projects already started will be continuously supported by relevant KT managers from the participating universities.

“Young entrepreneurs from Krakow expressed amazement at the innovation and knowledge transfer work being done in Surrey and Eindhoven and are now prepared to press ahead with their own ideas.”

Contact:

Sophie Stoss

University of Surrey,

 UniSdirect, Nodus Centre, Stag Hill,

 Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1483689063

www.growbbas.com
 
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