To push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, 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 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.
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.
As life sciences become increasingly dependent on technology, creating Core Facilities for shared usage is an excellent approach to exploit technology to the fullest, build networks, and cost-effectively integrate expertise. However, ensuring that Core Facilities lead to a competitive advantage is not without its challenges. Managing the needs of all stakeholders, 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.
Visit website core for life