How do we make sure that industry knows what expertise is available at universities? And vice versa – how can researchers know what trends are emerging in industry? For many years, the University of Antwerp has been involved in a unique partnership with the Chamber of Commerce – Antwerp.SRL – with the aim of cementing the links between entrepreneurs and researchers.
Antwerp.SRL, which stands for Antwerp.Smart Region Link, is an Antwerp-based network organisation that connects researchers with entrepreneurs in the same region. It is a partnership between the University of Antwerp and Antwerp’s Chamber of Commerce, supported by the Province of Antwerp.
The cooperation centres around themes related to the mainstays of the region, such as the port, the petrochemical sector and expertise in vaccination and infectious diseases. Everything is underpinned by an ambitious sustainability policy and continuous commitment to digitisation. Antwerp.SRL is embedded in our university’s Department of Research Affairs and Innovation and directly linked to the Valorisation Office through the Antwerp.SRL manager.
‘Through Antwerp.SRL, entrepreneurs can call on university research teams to help boost their innovation. In turn, researchers come into contact with entrepreneurs who want to start using their research results quickly and efficiently’, explains Antwerp.SRL manager Ellen Bogaert.
In addition to a digital platform for publishing projects and innovation news from the region, Antwerp.SRL also offers an exciting annual programme of activities.
Antwerp Innovation Night
One new activity launched in 2019 was Antwerp Innovation Night. The first edition brought researchers together with more than 350 innovative players from the region.
A fascinating keynote speech by Baron Paul Stoffels (Vice Chair of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson) was followed by the first presentation of the AHA! award, which is given to innovative researchers from the University of Antwerp and the university colleges. The participants then had the opportunity to network and wander around 20 innovative stands bursting with groundbreaking technologies.
More info (only available in Dutch, unfortunately, because of the regional focus): www.antwerpsrl.be