InnoSPICE Assessment in ESAK

In the latest visit at the Esak institution in Kef, the three assessor trainees of the innoSPICE methodology shared their views about the Ramses project and the innoSPICE approach. Ramses is a  DAAD project started at the beginning of 2016. The objective is the improvement of management capabilities of the participating universities in research and higher education.  It is a collaboration between IRESA and the University of Bremen.

Prof. Thouraya Souissi, when asked about the project, says that technology transfer is one of the strategic plans of IRESA. “Actually, this is one of IRESA’s mission” says Pr. Souissi. “The innoSPICE Tool fits very well on it. InnoSPICE is a tool that can be used for the improvement of all processes of an institution involved in innovation and technology. This could be very helpful to our organization ‘s improvement of technology transfer.”

A big challenge that a lot of research institutions are facing is the transfer of their results to end users, in this case farmers. Interesting research outcomes and publications are not being shared effectively. There is an understanding of this situation in IRESA, and the Ministry is trying to find a solution for these issues. “We are working to improve ourselves” Souissi says. “We are looking for new models of transfer and innovation that could help us to transfer a part of our interesting results.” Souissi believes that the use of the innoSPICE Tool, will assist with the evaluation of all processes that need to be improved. As a consequence, this could lead to the successful transfer of technology.

Prof. Souissi, said her interest in the innoSPICE tool was because she found it interesting to have a tool that can identify weak points in the organization and help improve their work. Other interesting aspects for Souissi are the opportunities that this tool offers: Staff of different categories and interests can come together and exchange ideas about the development of their institution.

“For me, it is a positive aspect of the tool, that people come together and discuss solutions and ideas that could help to improve the development and functionality of the institutions.”

Every innoSpice assessment gives her a positive impression because she already can see that the participants are getting more aware of the need to improve a lot of things.

Prof. Souissi describes it as a quick win. “I can feel that something is changing on the way that we see the things, and this is positive,” she says. In the future, Souissi would like to see the institutions, supervised by IRESA, to implement this tool in their daily work, “not just because it is required of them, but also because they see its benefit. I know that this is going to take a lot of time and work, but I am also very optimistic” she mentions.

Pr. Thouraya Souissi

Dr. Nouiri is also one the assessor trainees. He expects to train staff who, within a short period of time, could perform innoSpice assessments. “It will be very efficient if we make this a tradition, yearly assessment, and evaluation.” Nouiri believes that the innoSPICE approach can be very helpful in the Tunisian research centers of Higher Education and Agriculture. “It is exactly what we need,” he says.

Dr. Benrebah, also an assessor trainee, believes that the improvement of the research results could have a positive effect on the local community and could also increase employment in Tunisia. “The collaboration between research and industry actors can bring new results in the socioeconomic environment” he argues. Benrebah hopes that “after the completion of this project the participants will be able to apply the innoSPICE methodology on their research centers to improve the transfer of their technology and their innovative management activities.”

The innoSPICE Assessors in ESAK

Trifold’s Coaching for StartUps

David Wewetzer during a workshop with researchers in CBS

During a recent series of workshops within the Trifold project, junior scientists of research centers in Tunisia, thinking about running a startup company by bringing a result of their organization to the market, shared their thoughts about pathways to research valorization in Tunisia.

David Wewetzer from Bremen University and part of the Trifold team visited among others the Center of Biotechnology of Sfax (CBS) in November. “My main aim is to help researchers to succeed with their startups,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities in terms of education and many ideas-good ideas. I am here to offer support, to show the differences of being a researcher and being an entrepreneur. Here, our project activities are addressing all levels of scientific staff in the six partnering institutions“.

 David Wewetzer visited the General Director of CBS, Pr. Sami Sayadi

Imen Zouari, a young engineer and Doctor in Biotechnology at CBS is optimistic about her progress. “I want to formulate and develop a scale-up of my product in a way that can be efficient in the market,” she says. Imen hopes that the Trifold coaching will help her with new ideas to achieve her goals while she is infrastructurally supported by the CBS- business incubator.

The incubator offers accommodation and professional support to newly created companies. In the future, the General Director, Pr. Sami Sayadi, wishes moreover to have lectures and conferences on the topic of startup formation. “This could be helpful for young researchers to achieve a high level with their products and management support,” he says.

When asked about the capacity development activities at CBS, he says: “For us, Trifold is dealing with two things. First, the transfer of our technologies into economic added value and second, a future vision, a roadmap, the building of a strategy.” Pr. Sayadi believes that Trifold is a worthy project. “We can study or gain a good idea on how our Centre could be in 5 or 10 years,“ he says. For Pr. Sayadi it is important that Tunisian research results are available to the regional industry: “It is important – not only in CBS but also in other centers”.

Pr. Sami Sayadi, General Director of CBS

Imen Zouari, Engineer and Doctor in Biotechnology, CBS

Besma Sioud, Engineer in Biotechnology in CBBC and a member of the TTO team called ARTT, says that she would like to see each single scientist to “think about technology transfer in his research.” As a member of ARTT, she would like to achieve more concrete results and hopes that the training and coaching measures of the project will help her team to accomplish this mission.

Besma Sioud

Lobna Mansouri, Chemical Engineer in CERTE, Borj Cédria, adds that for the Tunisian research centers generally “there is a big challenge to improve the relationship of economical and scientific level”. Regarding her coaching within the Trifold project, Lobna says “this is an opportunity to learn something new”.

Lobna Mansouri