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Package 09

BIOPOLIS CoE Sustainability

To streamline a set of actions and activities that will assure the independence, self-funding and longterm delivery of excellent research and innovation on a sustainable basis.
9.1. Promoting successful application to research funding
Attracting project-based funding is one of the key components of the strategy for assuring long-term sustainability of BIOPOLIS. CIBIO has been remarkably successful in attracting competitive research funding from national sources but, despite some successes, participation in FP7 and H2020 programmes has been relatively limited. Therefore, this task is largely devoted to promote successful application to research funding from Portuguese and EU funding agencies. Particular attention will be given to creating the skills and capacities to participate successfully in Horizon Europe (2021-2027), and future framework Programmes, while maintaining or even enhancing the abilities to access Portuguese funds and the final opportunities from H2020. To achieve these goals, the following actions will be implemented:

Creation and implementation of a Project Support Office, which will be included in the Technical Support Unit and will work in close collaboration with the A&FU. To boost the operation of this Office, one Project Support Officer will be hired during the first year of the project, and another one in the third year. They will work together with officers specialised in project management, of which three will be contracted in the 1st year, another in the 3rd year and another one in the 5th year. This Office will coordinate the research and innovation project work of BIOPOLIS CoE, including information watch, raising awareness of opportunities, a proposal writing support service, assistance to partners searches, project and consortium management.

Training of researchers on preparing and writing research proposals, with the organization of in-house training sessions and participation in external workshops. Starting on the second year, just after the initial recruitment of research staff, in-house workshops on research proposal preparation will be organised each 6 months, which will be attended by 10-20 research staff and post-doctoral researchers with project concepts and ideas. More training sessions will be considered in the first 1-2 years following the start of Horizon Europe, when there will certainly be changes in regulations and priorities. Workshops will include the discussion of case studies, and will be benefited from inputs by UM researchers. Also starting on the 2nd, BIOPOLIS will support the participation of 4-6 researchers per year in external training courses, to complement in-house training.

Regular application to research funding, benefiting from the foreseeable increase in funding opportunities in Portugal and the EU. To foster this activity, the Project Support Office will continuously review and disseminate information on oncoming funding opportunities, at national, bilateral, European and international levels.

The Project Support Office will provide support on the preparation of applications, particularly on non-scientific aspects of proposal writing. Researchers will be incentivised to spend time on finding funding and writing proposals, by considering the success in attracting research funding as key elements for career development, remuneration packages, the allocation of lab space and technicians’ time, and the allocation of funding. The project-based funding strategy and outcomes will be monitored and evaluated on an annual basis, and continuously adapted in function of new funding opportunities and the development of BIOPOLIS capacities and international profile.
9.2. Promoting corporate partnerships through problem-solving research
This component will involve the development of innovation led, problem-solving research together with business corporations, providing a mechanism to attract funding and contribute to the CoE sustainability. A Business Relations and Knowledge Transfer Office will manage short- and medium-term contracts with corporations to develop specific projects leading to new products, services or processes, and it will focus on establishing more long-term partnerships whereby corporations co-fund a research group tackling more general research and innovation issues. The later will take profit of the Invited Chair Programme of FCT, which involves co-funding of research programmes over 3-5 years by FCT (25%) and a corporation (75%). The Chairs maintained at present by CIBIO will be transferred to BIOPOLIS CoE (EDP, REN), new Chairs negotiated during Phase 1 will be implemented (e.g., AMBATOVY, ACHLI, HOGOOD, Fundação Belmiro de Azevedo, SONAE MC, University of Johannesburg), and new Chairs will be created through actively partnerships with corporations, a process that has already been initiated during Phase 1 T Under BIOPOLIS, the network of Business partnerships will thus be greatly increased, through the regular and systematic contact with corporations, either through meetings and other direct contacts, or through participation in business, technical and scientific events. Since many of the research and innovation outputs of BIOPOLIS are relevant in all countries, and many projects will be co-developed with UM, the prospection will extend to French companies or stakeholders. In Montpellier, the LabExes are in charge of this kind of task, and partnerships with them will be proposed to their Boards. To manage corporate partnerships and further boost this success a Business Relations and Knowledge Transfer Office will be established under the Communication, Advancement and Engagement Unit. Two senior Officers will be hired during the 1st year, including a Business Relations Officer (BRO) and a Knowledge Transfer Officer (KTO). This Office will liaise with the company’s nominated contacts to ensure the smooth running of relationships on a daily. High-level relationships between BIOPOLIS and large corporations will be assumed by one of BIOPOLIS Directors or her/his nominees, which
will strive to interact directly senior company contact (usually the CTO or equivalent). The management of specific research programmes will be the responsibility of BIOPOLIS researchers and their company contacts. To facilitate close working between organizations, staff of corporate partners will be invited to spend periods in BIOPOLIS facilities and may use its laboratories, or even establish a permanent office at BIOPOLIS Campus. The relations with business partners will be closely monitored and evaluated, and a Business Relations Review will be produced annually, starting on the second year of project.
9.3. Intellectual Property Rights and Licensing BIOPOLIS Innovation
Return on research investment and thus the long-term sustainability of BIOPOLIS will also be sought through licensing of rights to use specific research outputs (IP such as patentable ideas or products). This will be achieved by hiring in the 1st year a KTO, who will work in the Business Relations and Knowledge Transfer Office. The KTO will work together with researchers to evaluate the potential for intellectual property protection and eventual commercialisation of research results. She/he will also be in charge to prepare the processes of patent application, working together with the Legal Affairs Officer. Finally, the KTO will work with the Business Relations Officer to establish licensing agreements with business corporations, to facilitate the transformation of research products into new commercial services and products. To support these activities, UM will provide training for the KTO and at least one researcher of each RU, benefiting from its long experience on IP and licensing of innovation. For projects developed jointly between BIOPOLIS and UM in the frame of shared intellectual property, BIOPOLIS will beneficiate from the possibilities offered to sustain innovation, for instance through the SATT (Société d’Accélération de Transfert de Technologie) AxLR.
9.4. Consultancy and services provision
BIOPOLIS will offer consultancy and lab analysis services, which will contribute to its revenues and long-term sustainability. This component will upgrade the range of services already provided by CIBIO, aiming to deploy a more cost-effective structure of service provisioning and to achieve and to attract potential clients more effectively. This component will build on research and innovation results produced by BIOPOLIS, and on the considerable experience of its researchers and technical staff. Considering the track record of CIBIO and the priority research lines of BIOPOLIS, the following services will be routinely provided: i) Laboratory analysis of tissues and non-invasive genetic samples for species identification, DNA fingerprinting, gender determination, parentage analysis; ii) Environmental monitoring and assessment of water, soil and air based on eDNA and NGS; iii) Wildlife management; iv) Environmental consultancy related to environmental impact assessment and monitoring; v) Regional and landscape planning, including the design of green and blue infrastructures; vi) Environmental management of urban areas and nature-based solutions. Thanks to the partnership with UM, new skills and techniques will be learned and new types of analyses made possible, allowing enlargement of the spectrum of expertise during the project. Some of this new expertise could be provided jointly between BIOPOLIS and UM, for instance when using platforms not available in BIOPOLIS but only in UM. BIOPOLIS will also have access to the network of partners of UM, which might become clients for some services offered by BIOPOLIS.
9.5. New businesses and spin-offs
BIOPOLIS will promote the creation of new businesses and spin-offs, mainly to commercialise research results for which there is not an obvious partner, or in cases where direct commercialisation by a spin-off linked to the CoE might create a competitive advantage.to foster a constellation of start-ups and of small and medium size enterprises, providing highly-qualified job opportunities, and contributing to regional and national development. Activities will be carried out in close liaison with experienced teams from UM and PBS, and will involve training on research entrepreneurship, training on how to apply for EU specific funding for innovative start up and spin off, legal and financial support to the creation of spin-offs, mentoring from practitioners, favourable conditions for access to office space and labs, and contributions to initial investment of particularly promising initiatives.
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