Forschungszentrum Jülich Innovation Strategy

Transfer: A collective responsibility

The world is experiencing swift and transformative shifts, driven by digitization, climate change, and the energy crisis. FZ Jülich is at the forefront of driving this change, with their brilliant minds crafting inventive solutions to tackle the pressing challenges of our era.

To effectively bring these solutions into the mainstream, they require support from all corners. The task of transferring these ideas to society is a collective responsibility, and it calls for collaborative efforts from each and every one of us.

Norbert Drewes and Christian Cremer shed light on how to breathe life into a strategy and effectively drive transformative change.

Is the emphasis on transfer increasing in significance at the Jülich Research Center?

Drewes: Transfer has always been one of our responsibilities. However, in recent years, it has gained considerable importance. There is now a greater demand from politics and society for us to actively contribute to solving major problems. This is likely driven by the urgent challenges we face, such as climate change, the energy crisis, and the local structural changes.

Cremer: That's why we have made a strategic decision to prioritize innovation and transfer as a fundamental aspect of our work. By publishing this strategy, we are sending a clear signal that we have a specific goal that should be ingrained in the very essence of Jülich.

Dr. Christian Cremer

"The call for research effectiveness has undergone a transformation, with a growing number of voices advocating that our excellence should contribute meaningfully to society's benefit."

Dr. Christian Cremer
Head of Innovation Management

Has the significance of this topic already made an impact on the workforce?

Cremer: Absolutely. The expectations of scientists regarding the impact of their research have evolved. More and more individuals advocate for turning our excellence into something beneficial for society.

Drewes: A significant and noteworthy progression! As the English saying goes, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast": Without the right culture, even the best strategy becomes ineffective. Embracing a culture of innovation is essential to achieve remarkable knowledge transfer.

What precisely do you mean by transfer?

Drewes: It refers to the practical application of scientific knowledge in various forms. This could entail creating spin-offs or products, as well as offering political advice.

Cremer: The key is not merely confining the benefits of certain results to a small group of insiders but ensuring that they are disseminated throughout society at large.

Are transfer processes nowadays different from the past?

Cremer: In the past, transfer was incidental. Researchers conducted their studies and then assessed whether the findings could be applied practically. Today, we approach it more proactively and in a structured manner right from the start.

Drewes: This means involving potential users early on to determine their needs and what a feasible solution should look like.

How do you foster such processes internally?

Cremer: Innovation originates in scientific institutes. However, for researchers to bring new technologies or products to the market, they require support, which is where our corporate development comes in. We provide resources and implement measures to facilitate knowledge transfer.

Drewes: The JUICE Program, for instance. It allows young colleagues to develop their business ideas. This initiative has already provided significant momentum to a planned spin-off that aims to introduce a new malaria test to the market, and it recently won the innovation prize of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

A clear indication that these efforts are yielding results!

Cremer: We observe similar success stories in various areas. Personally, I find it gratifying to see traditionally research-focused institutes now embracing transfer, like in the field of quantum computing. It shows that the cultural shift has been successful and that excellent science and transfer can go hand in hand. In fact, they complement each other brilliantly.

"We aim to eliminate any internal obstacles, for instance, by streamlining internal processes."

Dr. Norbert Drewes
Head of Corporate Development

Dr. Norbert Drewes

How should things unfold in the days to come?

Cremer: We're headed in the right direction, and it's crucial to build upon our past achievements.

Drewes: In order to achieve this, we aim to streamline internal processes, and make it easier for everyone at Forschungszentrum Jülich to participate actively in knowledge transfer!

Dr. Norbert Drewes

Dr. Norbert Drewes
is in charge of Corporate Development at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The Innovation and Strategy Department is part of Corporate Development.

Dr. Christian Cremer

Dr. Christian Cremer
is in charge of the Innovation and Strategy Department at Forschungszentrum Jülich as well as its innovation strategy.

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Last Modified: 21.02.2024