We had reported in a previous article about the italian-canadian Joint International Research Unit (JIRU), the bilateral research unit between the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) and the Laval University (ULAVAL) Québec in Canada, born in 2016.
It has ambitious objectives related to the development of research projects, innovation and knowledge transfer in the emerging field of the biomolecular study of the microbiome with an open system, involving the industrial world, the Institutions and the scientific community of the two countries, a concrete application of the Triple helix model .
The Centro Studi Italia Canada asked Dr. Emanuele Fiore, from the Institute of Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials of the CNR, some questions. He is delegate of the President of the CNR in the Steering Committee of the Italian-Canadian International Joint Unit and former scientific officer at the Italian Embassy in Canada from June 2007 to October 2014.
Dr. Fiore, why is Canada a strategic scientific partner for Italy?
International cooperation in the fields of scientific research and technological innovation is a strategic component of the foreign policy of the CNR.
The National Research Council is geared towards stimulating cooperation through an integrated approach aiming at a comparison between research systems and the development of a pre-competitive Network model with wide involvement of the whole community Science, and the industrial world.
In recent years there has been a particular development of the relations between Italy and Canada in the field of technological innovation and technology transfer, determined by the intensification of scientific collaborations.
In this context, it is interesting to note that Québec is the Canadian province that spends on scientific research a value equal to an OECD country ($ 1.3 billion GDP in R&D) and has planned (2017-2022) a strategic five-year investment in scientific research of $ 580 mln.
By 2022, Québec aims to position itself among the 10 leaders of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and to do so, it needs to realize a real scientific diplomacy, through academic collaborations to develop joint projects and share experience and skills.
The CNR and Université Laval collaboration was born on these premises.
What kind of agreement was signed between CNR (Italy) and Université Laval (Québec, Canada)?
The CNR and Université Laval signed in February 2016 an Agreement establishing a Joint International Research Unit (JIRU) lasting 7 years.
The ambitious objective of the JIRU is to be a world reference in the emerging field of biomolecular chemistry, microbiome, nutrition and cardiometabolic health, by the development of research projects, innovation and knowledge transfer.
The Université Laval financed the JIRU activities to be carried out in Canada with an initial contribution of 2.5 million Canadian dollars for 5 years.
Emanuele Fiore, Delegate of the President of the National Research Council of Italy, with Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO Canada Foundation for Innovation, and Vincenzo Di Marzo, Director of the the Joint International Research Unit CNR-ULAVAL, Research Director at the ICB-CNR Italy, Canada Excellence Research Chair on the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health at Laval University
Why is the collaboration model innovative for the scientific world?
The creation of this important partnership between CNR e ULAVAL has generated a new vision of international cooperation, useful to support an integrated approach that allows the development of a precompetitive Network model with an open system, involving the industrial world, the Institutions, through a linear comparison (in this case Provincial and Federal), and the scientific community of the two countries.
In short, Joint International Research Unit between the CNR and the Laval University is a concrete application of the Triple helix model with the difference that the players of the two countries work in a wide synergy to create a precompetitive development useful for improving the quality of the life (Dynamics across borders).
Is there a positive financial growth or a societal impact on the involved organizations, resulting from the adoption of this model?
This model represents the key to a country's economic growth and competitive success.
The theme of technology transfer and, more generally, the theme of transforming knowledge into productive value, has always been the focus of research and innovation policies.
Researchers have the ability to produce knowledge and this model propose at the same time, to quickly transform such knowledge into an economic value, and therefore to quickly produce a high quality innovation, even if with different intensity but with the same direction and towards the Institutions of Research and Industrial world.
Emanuele Fiore, Delegate of the President of the National Research Council of Italy, and Henry Etzkowitz, President of the Triple Helix Association
Sustainability: where to find resources to secure operations in the long term?
On both Italian and Canadian side of the JIRU, two Scientific Offices (experienced Project Managers have been hired for this purpose) have been established in order to identify potential sources of financing.
Furthermore they have to deal with request and proposal for scientific and industrial partnerships with third parties on the basis of the guide lines adopted by the Steering Committee.
They develop specific projects agreements with third parties, sources of financing or industrial partners. The Project Managers are scouting National and International financing request in order to secure long term operation.