Startups Bridging Research and Innovation

Startups Bridging Research and Innovation 1024 487 RAISE fosters startup growth and scale-up within and across Europe

In the ever-evolving landscape of science and entrepreneurship, startups are emerging as catalysts for transformative solutions with broad societal implications. These ventures exemplify the dynamic synergy between researchers and entrepreneurs, demonstrating how collaboration at the intersection of basic science and entrepreneurial innovation can pave the way for groundbreaking advancements. Let’s explore three remarkable examples that highlight the profound impact of connecting with researchers:

  1. Affinity Technology: Mapping the Human Genome

Affinity Technology is at the forefront of mapping the human genome, identifying disease-causing mutations, and tailoring personalized treatments. By collaborating with academic researchers, the startup dives deep into the fundamental science of human genome mapping. Its technology not only advances our understanding of genetics but also finds applications in major pharmaceutical companies. This example showcases how addressing basic scientific questions can lead to revolutionary solutions with far-reaching implications for healthcare.

  1. Grail: Revolutionizing Cancer Detection

Grail is revolutionizing cancer detection by developing blood tests that leverage DNA sequencing and machine learning. Through close collaboration with researchers in the field of cancer research, Grail’s innovation has gained significant traction, attracting substantial investments from influential figures like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. This partnership-driven approach demonstrates how niche research can translate into impactful technologies that have the potential to save lives and transform healthcare systems globally.

  1. In Silico Medicine: AI for Drug Development

In Silico Medicine harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to advance drug development, predicting drug interactions with the human body and identifying targets for innovation. Through partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and J&J, this startup emerges as a prime example of interdisciplinary collaboration. By bridging the gap between AI and drug development, In Silico Medicine illustrates how collaboration between researchers and industry can yield groundbreaking solutions to complex challenges in healthcare.

These examples underscore the importance of collaboration between researchers and entrepreneurs in driving innovation and societal impact. By harnessing the complementary strengths of both worlds, startups can leverage scientific discoveries to develop transformative technologies and solutions. As we continue to navigate the frontier of scientific and entrepreneurial endeavors, fostering partnerships and collaboration will remain essential in unlocking the full potential of research-driven innovation.

About the Speakers and Mentors

Adriana Bankston

Adriana Bankston is a former bench scientist turned science policy expert, with a wealth of experience in research and academic policy changes within university settings. Her career was dedicated to showcasing research discoveries on a broader scale. Notably, Adriana also led a non-profit organisation and held various entrepreneurial roles, connecting with professionals worldwide.

Adriana Bankston

Adriana’s role as a senior fellow in science policy with the Federation of American Scientists showcased her expertise in policy entrepreneurship. Her work at this non-profit mirrored the dynamic nature of a startup, making her well-equipped to discuss the convergence of science and policy.

Based in Washington, DC, USA, Adriana was ideally positioned to offer valuable insights into research-powered innovation, real-world impact, and the art of building strategic partnerships and talent scouting. Her diverse background and passion for research made her a dynamic speaker for discussions surrounding innovation, collaboration, and talent development.

To learn more about Adriana:

Juan Fuentes Fernández

Juan Fuentes Fernández

Juan Fuentes Fernández, based in Copenhagen, is a seasoned expert with a career spanning over a decade in various areas, including strategy, international business development, PR & Comms, brand and activation management, project and people management, market research, and CSR.

Having worked across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas, Juan’s global perspective is reflected in his extensive professional journey. His notable achievements include:

Professional Experience

  • LALIGA Delegate for the Nordic Countries (2021-Present): Appointed by LALIGA, the Spanish football league, Juan leads the growth strategy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
  • LALIGA Delegate for the Middle East (2017-2021): Spearheaded LALIGA’s successful expansion in Egypt, Sudan, and Libya.
  • Editor at Oxford Business Group (Philippines): Analyzed emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Trade and Investment Advisor for the Embassy of Spain: Represented Spanish interests in Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

Academic Involvement: Juan’s academic contributions include research and co-authoring a Working Paper for Harvard Business School on LALIGA’s strategic development. He has served as an instructor and master thesis supervisor in various sports management programs in Spain and Europe.

Angel Investor: As an investor, Juan focuses on sports and entertainment-related startups, emphasizing industry validation and expansion. He avoids investments in projects collaborating with LALIGA or seeking collaboration with his organization.

Multidisciplinary Project Coordination: Juan has successfully managed diverse teams for award-winning projects, such as the Spanish-Arabic football dictionary by the Instituto Cervantes and LALIGA, which received the “Publication of the Year 2021” award in Spain.

Recognition and Social Impact: Juan has been shortlisted as a winner in Spain’s inaugural Nova 111 list, particularly in the telecom, media, and entertainment category. Dedicated to social impact, he has volunteered with various NGOs for over a decade and is a member of Common Goal, donating 1% of his salary to support social causes.

Areas of Expertise: Juan Fuentes Fernández excels in entertainment and sports management, international business development, strategy, market research, PR & Comms, brand and activation management, project and people management, CSR initiatives, academic instruction, keynote speaking, and angel investment. His multilingual and multicultural proficiency further enhances his ability to make a significant impact across various sectors.

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