The research community in Sweden is experimenting with a new way of closing the gap between university research and companies. Unexpectedly the inspiration comes from popular talent TV show American Idol where potential pop stars get a chance to show themselves to producers and audience. At this intersection they use the simple concept of the TV show to expose advanced research to companies. The companies in their turn get a chance to find new ideas and future research stars. Just like in a show business talent hunt.
The theme of the “competition” last week was biomarkers and a number of universities had nominated young promising researchers on their way to a PhD degree. Each researcher made a ten minute presentation of his/her project and then a panel discussion followed. The audience consisted of representatives from companies – potential buyers and financers.
The number of university research projects that have been turned into companies has increased over the last years and in many cases they have been extremely lucrative. Maybe that makes everybody involved more open minded about ways of discovering new knowledge goldmines; using a TV show concept in the research world is very unorthodox, but if it works...