The A2B Sessions are meetings where research and business meet to build partnerships that increase efficiency in the transfer and valorisation of knowledge.
We are firm believers that innovation without translation to the market is undesirable, since it has no impact. In order to help the researchers in the university to steer their research towards solving real challenges that businesses face in an increasingly competitive world, we developed this program to connect both researchers within universities and established business companies.
For companies, it's an opportunity to leap forward in terms of innovation by consulting with experts and participating in R&D projects that could contribute to product validation.
For researchers and spin-off companies it's an opportunity to get market insights into the latest trends and needs.
The sessions can take place either within the University or at the companies’ premises, to facilitate the transference and transmission of knowledge between the two fields, while exchanging services both need.
Whenever possible, consumers are also invited to the sessions to lend their perspective on the most relevant directions to be pursued.
We find this GP to be particularly relevant within the scope of HELIUM, since it proven example of the improvement in the innovative ecosystem that brings together all relevant stakeholders.
On what comes to the financial resources, there was an investment of about 2000€, mostly to fund administrative costs and researchers’ travel expenses.
Regarding the human resources, there’s about 2 full time collaborators working on the project.
Evidence of success
Since their implementation, we have organized a total of 51 A2B sessions, from which 11 were dedicated specifically to the field of Health. The sessions engaged 1232 participants, from both the university and the corporations and the synergies created have accounted for over 40 collaborative projects.
Within the field of Health we can refer at least 8 collaborative research projects, some of which resulted in later licensing of the developed solutions.
The main challenge takes place after the sessions: since usually the projects’ outcome is defined once the sessions are over and outside the usual meetings' setup, it’s hard to measure the real impact and respective successful outcomes.
Potential for learning or transfer
Assuming there are similar contexts all around Europe, with research groups and a community of companies who might be looking for specialized technical consulting, projects like this one, that rely mostly on the ability of organizing and scaling a specialized network, can be easily transferred to other contexts.
All public authorities should consider this simple solution to boost innovation, particularly institutions that have great needs but limited ability to outsource solutions. It is important to highlight that, to make this practice happen, only a small amount of financial resources is needed - this means the main concern should be gathering the right kind of specialist and making sure there are compatible areas between the R&D research groups and the businesses.
In conclusion, there’s a very significant potential for learning or transfer- the transferability potential lays on the mere existence of R&D universities’ departments and locally available companies.