Semmelweis University hosted the Alliance4Life Trigger Event in Budapest

On the 21st November 2022 the Semmelweis University in Budapest (Hungary) hosted the first national Hungarian Trigger Event within the Innovation Day of the university. The Trigger Event was organized in a form of round table focusing on the importance of cooperation among higher educational institutions, industrial partners, and decision-makers.

The event was opened by Dr. Gyula Péter Szigeti, the director of the Semmelweis University Innovation Center. Dr. Szigeti in his opening speech highlighted the importance of cooperation among each stakeholder of innovation, and as an example introduced the major deliverables of the Allance4Life 2018-2019 and Alliance4Life_ACTIONS 2021-2024 projects.

The invited speakers representing higher educational institution (Dr. Gyula Péter Szigeti, director of the Semmelweis University Innovation Center), decision-makers (Viktória Kovács, head of the Priority Programmes Department of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office in Hungary; Dr. Klára Horváth, National Contact Point, Health Cluster, Hungary) and business sector (Dr. Róbert Dóczi, lead scientist, Oncompass Medicine Hungary Ltd; and Lehel Ferenczi, Director Data & Analytics, GE Healthcare) in their discussion focused on those special circumstances which have the potential to significantly improve the quantity and quality of successful cooperations.

From the point of view of decision-makers it is extremely important to prepare future grant applicants for successful cooperations in advance. To this end, there is a highly increasing need for permanent monitoring of these calls and subsequent introduction to future partners. It is never too late to join a good project, but, according to the not negligible administrative and preparatory requirements, it is highly recommended to start the initial negotiations and consortium-formulation in advance. In case of international project, the preparation phase preceding the application can last more than 9 months, and the decreased time for preparation can significantly influence the quality of application.

Both industrial partners and university representatives agreed that there is never too early for preparing for such a project. In general, the connections between university and business players are given; however, besides basic research, more space should be given to applied and innovative research. Although the knowledge at the level of persons and individual institutions is given, the harmonization of these efforts and the wording of common goals is still a challenge. This is the point where decision-makers can help. It should be clearly stated what will be the major output: results which can be used as a potential tool to fill a gap, or a wealth of knowledge having a predominant effect on the scientific society. Both approaches are acknowledged, but the outputs are not the same. Therefore, before each cooperation, these strategies must be codified, and the priorities of individual players should be harmonized. As an example, the question of publication and patent application was mentioned. Both of them are necessary, but the timing of these outputs is crucial. A well-prepared cooperation considering all of needs and priorities can prevent future conflicts and project threads.

Last but not least, all partners agreed that the mutual exchange of experience and needs is a good starting point to foster cooperation; however, it must clearly state how the participants and the society can benefit from these results.