Becky Nesbit was at the Plant Sci conference in April and reviews a talk encouraging academics to link with business.
Science and industry are unavoidably linked, so it is important for academics to have business knowledge and often beneficial to have a working relationship with commercial companies.
His advice to the plant science community is to develop links with business. “Academic researchers can gain a huge amount from working with business, for example through sharing expertise and facilities and by establishing a dialogue on important research challenges. I would encourage all plant scientists to consider partnering with business. It can be a valuable source of funding and they may discover their research has commercial potential, which they hadn’t yet considered.”
The BBSRC operates a range of schemes designed to support academic partnerships with industry.
The LINK scheme promotes academic/industrial collaboration in pre-competitive research. Projects are typically funded 50:50 by industry and government support. The stand-alone LINK scheme is still taking applications. To apply, your project must be a collaboration between at least one researcher and at least one business.
The BBSRC industrial CASE studentship scheme offers grants for top-quality bioscience graduates to undertake PhD research on a subject selected and supervised jointly by academic and industrial partners. Dan says: “This is often a first step for businesses to become involved with a research group, and the relationship can develop into larger projects. The student benefits from the additional training they receive in an industrial context.”
BBSRC is soon to launch a new people exchange scheme called the Flexible Interchange Programme (FLIP). People-exchange schemes allow scientists to move between industry and academia, and to access specialist facilities and equipment. Dan says: “Face to face interactions are one of the best ways to facilitate knowledge exchange. People exchange schemes support the transfer of skills and also help to further enhance the outcomes of BBSRC funded research.”
Dan’s presentation from the PlantSci conference is online.