Open day: bringing researchers and businesses together

June 25th 2019

Last month, CMMI and part of IMI once again opened their doors to visitors. A look back at an event that let researchers meet with entrepreneurs.

Last May 17, the Centre for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging (CMMI) and the immunomonitoring platform of the Institute for Medical Immunology (IMI) were open to professionals in the biotech industry. This gave them an opportunity to learn about the equipment and services available in key disciplines at CMMI and IMI.
Visitors could find out about recently acquired instruments such as the luminescence imaging machine, the cytometry platform, the 21-colour cytometers, low-temperature microscope CryoEM, etc.

CMMI and IMI at the service of businesses

CMMI was initially created by ULB and UMons to conduct research for economic purposes, by pooling certain resources. Other parties quickly expressed interest in the equipment and skills available at the Centre, and with good reason: from molecules to small animals, CMMI is one of few European centres to offer a wide range of analysis resources in a single place.
As for IMI, it was created by a partnership between ULB, GSK-Biologicals, and the Walloon region. It is recognised as a European centre of excellence in immunology.

Helping businesses go the extra mile

‘During our open day, most visitors are representatives from companies large and small, from large pharmaceutical firms to spin-offs and start-ups in the biotech industry’, explains Patrick Di Stefano, a member of ULB’s Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and CMMI’s strategic committee. ‘This day helps businesses find skills and techniques that they may not have themselves. In turn, this could enable them to solve certain problems and/or to push their R&D projects even further.’

Building a network

The open day is also a great opportunity to meet with researchers and other professionals, in order to discuss research projects, engage in reflection, or even start new collaborations. ‘This is a very public-relations-oriented event’, comments Patrick Di Stefano. ‘In this context, the TTO is acting as an intermediary between businesses and the academic world. If a company has a specific need that CMMI is unable to meet, for instance, the TTO can find another structure, or a team of ULB researchers, that can help. As for researchers, it can be helpful for them to see how their research results can become commercially viable solutions. Open days benefit everyone!’