CEBR @ Genesis 2015

Clusters staying connected to R&D expertise – feeding innovation

Mediwales at Genesis small

CEBR was delighted to deliver the Global Cluster Hub at Genesis 2015 on December 10 in London, bringing together more than 20 cluster, research and SME support actors from 10 different countries around the topic.

The topic for this Global Cluster Hub focused on the need for clusters to continue the integration of top class research into commercial development to keep clusters seeding new companies and staying dynamic in their growth and turnover.  We were delighted to be joined by LifeSciences British Columbia (Canada) and Pennsylvania BIO (US) to share an international view on the topic and look forward to some excellent case studies, good practice and development of new cluster partnerships.


Presentations: The five presenters set the stage for input across all attendees regarding challenges and good practice in ensuring ongoing research integration into cluster development and facilitation by cluster managers and other actors.  LifeScience British Columbia demonstrated that Public Private Partnerships are an increasing feature in clusters as a tool to bring together all actors in the healthcare chain – particularly into a clinical setting.

It is also used to move technologies across sector, such as novel engineering into health applications, with an example of a novel heart monitor tested in partnership with a local hospital in return for a large discount if it comes to market.  Campania Bioscience, as a smaller cluster, emphasized the importance of focus in facilitating contacts and used SME examples where they linked a university, SME and an Italian car manufacturer to create a new business.  PennsylvaniaBIO leverages its good level of clinical trials and new university incubator to bring in health insurers (payer community) as investors in novel technologies which are tested in hospitals.

Genopole presented a picture of a large and mixed science ecosystem (more accurate than cluster) and proposed that even when on a shared site, it is hard to engender genuine interactions, through cultural and philosophical differences between different types of researcher.  It is now building a work-life meeting point where people meet beyond the science.  MediWales has an interesting community where it has a higher number of medtech companies generating products with a need for earlier stage novel technologies to fill the pipeline.  It is important to facilitate local connections otherwise the co.s will go to other clusters.  These companies change owners, typical of a global industry, and a site is less likely to close if the R&D is there.  Parties appear to be an important meeting point!

Discussion (selected points): The wider audience also contributed to the session with diverse needs and approaches.  Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst exposes academics and SMEs to their end clients, the big co.s, as many mature a technology fr too long without assessing its likely exit point.  Stevenage is supported by organisations such as GSK and the Wellcome Trust to achieve this and now have Uni Cambridge and UCL setting up on site.  Cardiff University runs a technology faculty, where 40% of its work is with external partners.  KTN works to facilitate cross sectoral exposure and drives events across the UK for the whole ecosystem.  Bionow made the point that clusters need to have a strong base – the north of England has 7 universities and they are integral to the region’s development, with Bionow developing specific services to engage researchers and students, with limited cost required for such activities.