Science meets technology

Technological advances set the pace for research

The basic research performed at VIB pushes the boundaries of scientific knowledge. In doing so, the need for disruptive technologies has become apparent. For this reason, VIB has bundled the technological expertise of the entire institute in a core facilities program to make it available to scientists within and outside of the organization, as well as to industrial partners.

In addition,  VIB has established a dedicated Tech Watch team to spot and integrate cutting-edge disruptive technologies into VIB at an early stage, strengthening the innovative status of VIB research. The Technology Innovation Lab is a recent extension of Tech Watch which facilitates the integration of prototypes of new technology instruments and devices in the VIB labs and/or cores.

Tech watch program

The VIB Tech Watch initiative was founded in 2008. Since then, the Tech Watch team has continuously been scouting for new, emerging technologies that can have an impact on the research of VIB scientists and boost the research and IP output at VIB.

The team’s unique screening system allows the discovery of new technologies and start-ups early in their development. Technologies that pass this screening are presented to VIB scientists. As such, they are privileged to have early-access to technologies in their prototype phase and recently commercialized technologies. Moreover, the Tech Watch team also negotiates the set-up of agreements with the companies.

Funding is also available for the VIB scientists to lower the threshold to implement these new technologies in their research. Funding is subdivided in three different categories: ‘early-access fund’ for non-commercialized technologies, ‘new technologies fund’ for recently commercialized technologies and ‘Tech Development Fund’ for in-house development of new technologies within VIB.

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VIB Core facilities

VIB has 10 institutional Core Facilities in total, providing support in a wide array of research fields and housing specialized scientific equipment and services for each discipline. Science and technology go hand in hand. New technologies advance science and often accelerate breakthroughs in scientific research. VIB has a visionary approach to science and technology, founded on its ability to identify and foster new innovations in life sciences.

The VIB Core Facilities, supported by the ‘Technology Watch’ program, are instrumental in guaranteeing VIB scientists access to the latest and greatest tools and field-specific technologies. The results speak for themselves: groundbreaking research, unprecedented collaborations and real-life applications that change the world.

Model organisms

Research in the life sciences often requires the use of model organisms to tackle difficult questions. VIB follows strict guidelines to ensure the ethical treatment of the model organisms used in the research performed by the scientist. The main model organisms in VIB research are: Arabidopsis, Drosophila, mice, poplars, rats, Xenopus, yeast, zebrafish, and corn.

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Core for life

As life sciences become increasingly dependent on technology, creating Core Facilities for shared usage is an excellent approach to exploit technology to the fullest, to build networks and to integrate expertise in a cost-effective manner. However, ensuring that Core Facilities lead to a competitive advantage is not without its challenges. Managing the needs of all stake holders, hiring and retaining the right expertise, being always at the forefront of fast-evolving technologies and acquiring the necessary funding for investments, are some of them.