A researcher at UiB recently published a very interesting scientific work that could potentially pave the way for a new treatment principle to increase muscle strength. In an interview with the newspaper Bergens Tidende, the journalist asked if the discovery could yield income to the researcher or UiB. The researcher shook his head before he replied: I have not thought about it. I am most concerned about helping people. That’s why I’m a researcher. Revenue is less important.
It is understandable that the researcher wishes to have his primary focus on the discovery. But the findings have only a potential utility until someone finds some practical realization of the findings. Potentiality and realization marks the difference between research and innovation. And by practical realization of the findings the researcher, through his or her expertise, can shorten the path to patient care, while at the same time acquiring additional sources of external funding and also creating new jobs.
At the Department of Clinical Science, Audun Nerland has lead a group that has looked at conditions that can improve the innovation ability at the Department. The group points, among other things, to awareness-raising about innovation and commercialization, training in the stages of the innovation process, providing facilities and meeting places, providing information about innovation-oriented research support (e.g., NFR FORNY2020, BIOTEK2021, BIA) and giving merits if you contribute to innovation. Innovation is not only relevant in research, but also in teaching, as illustrated by the project of Professor Jarle Rørvik (K1) Adap (Adaptive Online Learning Environment).
I hope that everyone, besides publications and public dissemination of their research, also considers the potential for innovation. Then, as the newly appointed Vice Dean of Innovation, I will do my best to make the best possible arrangements to make innovation happen. One of my first tasks is to find residents to the new Incubator Building, which is planned on the parking deck behind the Laboratory Building, in such a way that it promotes a culture of innovation.