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.

The VIB Tech Watch team is dedicated to actively onboard emerging life sciences technologies at VIB in the fields of microscopy, (single cell) sequencing, proteomics, genome engineering and many more. Research is only as good as the available technology allows. Therefore, we believe that access to the next emerging technology inevitably leads to the next groundbreaking scientific discovery.

We scout, connect, set up partnerships, evaluate technologies in early access and assist widespread adoption. We collaborate intensively with the VIB research groups for these evaluations and de-risk participation in this program both financially by providing internal funding as well as lowering time-investment by providing hands-on support through the technology innovation lab.

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.