02 October. 2019
Innovation Department - Trip to UCL
The Innovation Team was recently in London to visit RISE’s partner university UCL and meet up with teams around UCL working to bridge research with industry and innovation.
First off, the team met with the heads of the European Research and Innovation Office whose role and mission is to provide a range of services to the UCL community and international collaborators particularly in relation with the “Horizon 2020” program.
Next, taking advantage of the nice cool weather we walked all the way to King’s Cross, and UCL’s Base KX startup hub. We were welcomed by Jerry Allen, the very enthusiastic director, who takes young inventors under his wings and supports and guides them through their journey in transforming their innovative ideas into viable start-ups. We were especially impressed by the story behind “Vendi” and its co-founder Pablo and “Musemio” and its co-founder Olga, both of which very proudly gave us an overview of how they developed their ideas to promising start-ups.
The second day of the trip began at IDEALondon, the innovation center supported by Cisco, EDF Energy and UCL Engineering, located in the heart of London’s East London’s “Tech City”. The area hosts the Google for Startups Campus, Amazon offices, Facebook, and Twitter, amongst many tech startups that have been moving to the area and creating the third largest tech city in the world. The very knowledgeable Claire Gardner, Operations Manager, explained how IDEA London, in a co-working setup, helps start-ups develop their products, secure funding and find customers. We also met with the very enthusiastic CEO of Conception X, Riam Kanso, who explained how they assist PhD students develop innovative tools in collaboration with the industry while still in a PhD program.
In the afternoon the team headed to the offices of UCLB, the technology transfer company of UCL and met with Marina Santilli who spoke to us about how they go about helping create and spinout companies.
The last day of the trip started off with a visit with the Innovation and Enterprise Business Innovation Partnership Team who had some very interesting insights as to how to engage academics and industry in the effort to create collaborations and how they bring the two groups together.
Even though all of this was very interesting it could not compare to the next stop: the Here East Campus. This is the new innovation and technology campus where UCL has created an amazing space that offers a diverse range of programs as well as high-tech, state-of-the-art facilities. After a tour of the facility the team of RISE sat down with the team of Strategic Alliances Director & Corporate Relationships who explained the vision behind the transformation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park into a hub for innovative and diverse groups of people from all fields and backgrounds to be in close proximity and establish new and exciting ways of collaborating and co-existing. An amazing and inspirational end to a great trip.
"We gained many valuable insights from our visit to London: There is an undeniably increasing momentum in the effort of transforming science into innovation. This is made possible by careful planning but more importantly by bridging research and industry through solid collaborations. Such solid collaborations are pursued by the institutions we have visited on our trip and the knowledge and best practices they have shared with us are invaluable."
Anthoula Fotsiou - Psoma, Innovation Communications Manager