We talked to the scientific and entrepreneur Javier García Martínez, director of the Molecular Nanotechnology Lab at the University of Alicante, co-founder of Rive Technology Inc (Boston, MA), and member of the World Economic Forum, Council on Emerging Technologies.
One of the objectives of Novum 2015, the science, technology and innovation festival promoted by BCN Innovació, is to show the city the enormous potential of partnerships between research, business and institutions. Its success creates new opportunities of qualified jobs and economic welfare.
With a perspective like this, the testimony of Javier García Martínez, scientist and entrepreneur of international renown, is a valuable legacy. He will be in charge of explaining ‘The adventure of enterprising from science’, conference to be held on April 15th in the Novum Pro, the research and innovation section of the festival.
For Javier, "Scientists for their rigor, analytical skills and observation, are excellent entrepreneurs." However, they find some obstacles to undertake their projects. First of all, themselves, "obsessed with publishing their results, without time because of their classes and burdened by an scarce and uncertain funding, entrepreneurship is probably the last thing they think". Obstacle to which you can add the lack of training and contacts.
To combat it, Javier proposes the universities to become spaces that promote entrepreneurship: "From there you can build an entire ecosystem of entrepreneurship where they find, meet and work together entrepreneurs, scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and teachers."
One of the common mistakes is to forget that you need to have a team capable of carrying out the idea in question, in addition to a solid business plan to obtain the necessary financing. "Grants should be used to promote basic science, which otherwise could not be financed. To create and develop businesses is far better to have private funding. Public aid have too much bureaucracy and limitations and, above all, do not give us access to qualified investors and contacts to help us to succeed", says Javier.
There is no doubt that much remains to be done: "The creation of companies from college is a very recent phenomenon and still generates great reluctance. Venture capital is less developed in Spain than in other countries. And the dire consequences of cuts in R & D has meant that laboratories and promising research lines have closed ". As has also been closed the access and return ways of young researchers.
"After seven years of crisis, we remain confident that tourism can save our economy and revive the building sector to get back our economic growth. One would say that we have not learned anything. Countries don't do research because they are rich,they are rich because they do", continues Javier.
To improve this situation, he believes that the first thing to do is increase the number of enterprising women scientists: "They represent at least half the talent and, without them, the opportunities are fewer. Specific programs are needed to promote the presence of entrepreneurs scientists women, from the school to the universities and laboratories".
Also he considers essential to celebrate success stories: "Show that entrepreneurship is possible in the university". And assume the risk that supposes to take the discoveries out of the lab and bring them to market.
"When a new scientific discovery is marketed, we all benefit. From a new vaccine, to a new form of clean and safe energy. Everyone can win in this scientific entrepreneurship", says the scientist and entrepreneur.
Javier García Martínez currently directs the the Molecular Nanotechnology Lab at the University of Alicante. Is the author of twenty patents and co-founder of the technology company Rive Technology Inc (Boston, Massachusetts). He is also member of the World Economic Forum, Council on Emerging Technologies and advisor to the European Commission for issues of innovation and entrepreneurship, among other charges.
Saló de Cent del Ajuntament de Barcelona
April 15th, 19.30
More information about Novum here
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