Scientific Education


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2018-02-14 post date.


Perception and scepticism do not bode well for the business and science interface
The interaction between business and science is not always smooth. The difference in culture between the two fields often means that there is a lot of misunderstanding or a difference in expectations on either side. Increasingly, businesses rely on research to develop new solutions. However, there is a disconnect between the pace of industry and that of research and innovation. In this article, EuroScientist explores how the interface between science and business has evolved in recent years.1
Openness and dialogue
“In industry we need to hear from science now more than ever,” says John O’Brien, deputy head of the Nestlé Research Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland, “but we’re living in an era where there’s lots of scepticism of science that we need to take into account.” O’Brien is organising the ESOF2016 session on the challenges facing today’s food production industry, entitled ‘Future food: analysing the risks.’
O’Brien believes that “scientists and businesses have a responsibility to work together to understand and inform the public.” He explains that “in food safety a lot of our decisions are actually driven by perception. Everyone knows that there are real risks to consider, but we also need to deal with perceived risks.”
Science and business can work well together, according to Ros Le Feuvre, SYNBIOCHEM director of operations at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, UK. “I think the academic community is becoming more aware of the commercial potential of their science and how to exploit it,” says Le Feuvre, “there is a more open culture and increased dialogue.” She is organising the ESOF2016 session entitled ‘Synthetic biology, the pathway to commercialisation‘ focusing on challenges emerging technologies face in the marketplace.
It appears that in her field there has been an increasing level of connections with industry. “Over the past decade we‘ve developed closer relationships with industrial partners, from large multi-nationals to smaller start-ups,” Le Feuvre notes. She believes this enables them to better understand “the different priorities and time scales important to both.”