Investment in innovation accelerates development of new technology

Tuesday 25 Feb 20

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Bjarke Bak Christensen
Head of Department
DTU Bioengineering
+45 30 66 42 33

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DTU Bioengineering sends out a quarterly newsletter containing a selection of the latest research. The newsletter focuses on current themes and contains comments by Head of Department Bjarke Bak Christensen.

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Strengthened focus on interaction between basic research and innovation accelerates the development of new biosensors and measuring methods. About two years ago, we decided at DTU Bioengineering to increase our innovation focus. One result of this was the employment of a director responsible for innovation as well as two professors, and an associate professor with strong profiles in this field. Now the first results are ticking in.

In the latest newsletter, Biotrends, we write about how researchers from DTU Bioengineering have developed a new technology that can detect fatal diarrhoea in suckling pigs. Another team of researchers has developed a test that can determine whether children are predisposed to asthma. And a third project shows promising results with a new and innovative method for producing an antidote to spider poison.

All three projects fall within Life Science. However, other projects on enzymes that can break down plastic—or on microorganisms that can be used to exploit waste products and side flows in production—show that DTU Bioengineering’s whole environment for innovation and entrepreneurship is seeing growth. 

This is a development that makes demand on both researchers and companies. The challenge for the universities is that we need to increase our focus on converting basic research into new methods, thus ensuring that new knowledge is utilized while not forgetting basic research. And companies must be ready to enter into more collaborations and partnerships, to assume greater co-responsibility, and the risk that is always connected with the development of new technology.

Precisely the collaboration between universities and companies is a Danish strength. An open and trusting relationship in innovation processes and in the transfer of technology creates unique opportunities for development and marketing of new products. And when the collaboration is also based on strong academic environments—both at universities and in companies—this means that the level of knowledge is so high that we can provide world-class innovation.

It starts off on a small scale. Quite literally in projects in which we at DTU Bioengineering conduct research aimed at a better understanding of our enzymes or microorganisms. We try to produce new molecules synthetically, and we suddenly discover a new measuring method or something that can be turned into a business. 

I am focused on making the knowledge bridge between universities and businesses as strong and trusting as possible. This is where we invent new technology, and this is where universities can develop their study programmes, so that they provide their graduates with the cutting-edge competences that the business sector demands.

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