EuroTech’s Innovation Day co-organized by the Drahi-X Novation Center
Celebrating EuroTech Alliance’s 10th anniversary, the six partner universities organized a day dedicated to Entrepreneurship and Innovation on April 28th and offered a thriving example of international collaboration.
Led by Technion Israel Institute of Technology and co-organized by École Polytechnique’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation center, the Drahi-X Novation Center, the event involved researchers, professors, students, and alumni of all six EuroTech universities. Start-ups and business ventures, incubated and accelerated at the Drahi-X Novation Center, were also high up on the agenda.
The six EuroTech partner universities are: École Polytechnique, Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), and Technical University of Munich (TUM).
Opening the events of Innovation Day, Technion’s President, Professor Uri Sivan, highlighted the importance of equipping future leaders with next-generation practices as powerful codes to dream and execute and of encouraging them to act with integrity and a vision for a greater purpose and value. Today’s entrepreneurship is defined by navigating untrodden paths in an ever-changing world. It requires not only thinking outside the box but thinking without the box.
Under the overarching theme "Transcending Borders - Striving for Excellence", the program revolved around five main topics and provided insights on innovative tools and methods boosting entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Boosting Entrepreneurship
- Students at the forefront of Academic Innovation
- From Product to Market
- The Critical Role of Supporting Environments
- Start-ups & Ventures
The event provided the opportunity to discover over 30 speakers and projects. Founders of start-ups and business ventures, research professors, alumni, and students from l’X, Technion, EPFL, DTU, TU/e, and TUM shared their expertise and presented very diverse projects and entrepreneurial ventures. Amongst the many insightful contributions during the event:
Gilad Japhet, Technion alumnus and founder & CEO of MyHeritage, an online genealogy platform, gave an inspiring opening keynote, sharing his vision of entrepreneurial adventures and many relevant tips for future entrepreneurs.
Exploring drivers of entrepreneurial innovation in Environmental Technologies, Dr. Claudia Dobligner, Assistant Prof. of Innovation and Technology Management (TUM), stated that Cleantech start-ups face many obstacles, even more than start-ups in other sectors. She pointed out that start-ups need to choose partners wisely and that government agencies & labs are surprisingly good partners for boosting patenting and follow-on investment.
François Alouges, research profressor at École Polytechnique, Co-Founder & CTO at RunBlind, presented teh Drahi-X Novation Center and shared his experience of leading a start-up project within the Drahi-X Novation Center ecosystem. The start-up RunBlind aims to guide visually impaired or blind people in their movements thanks to 3D sound technology, enabling them to practive sports such as running. The technology used builds on research carried out by École Polytechnique's Center for Applied Mathematics.
Testifying that students can be agitators of Innovation, Louis-Oscar Morel, MD-PhD student at École Polytechnique, also acts as CEO of UMMON HealthTech, founded in 2020. The start-up has patented a proprietary AI-powered platform for pathology analysis and plans to bring a “Software as a Medical Device” for immunostaining detection to the market. Ambitioning to provide new relevant solutions for practical use in clinics, Louis-Oscar Morel aims to help fill the discrepancy between the solutions needed within the medical field and the industry’s responses thanks to a platform, which rallies the three fields – academia, industry, and medical practice.
Business Beyond Borders was another topic high on the agenda. Steven van Huiden (TU/e), Kristoffer Buch (DTU), Shuli Shwartz (Technion) presented the European Venture Program (EVP), a joint entrepreneurial boot camp organized by the EuroTech universities. Going beyond classic courses and lectures on entrepreneurship, the annual hands-on program provides exclusive access to the entrepreneurship expertise and networking resources at the six EuroTech Universities. The three presenters shared the floor with start-up founders and former participants in the EVP who spoke about their experiences: Arnold Bitner (Modelwise), Freek van Welsenis (Hable) & Sylke Hoehnel (SUN Bioscience)
Addressing how to reach effective collaborations between Industry and Academia, Dr. Giezendanner-Thoben, Head of Operations, Vice-Presidency for Innovation (EPFL), and Mr. Jourdan, Director Switzerland Innovation West (EPFL), revealed several hints to achieve successful Industry-Academia collaborations. To mention some of their insights, they advise drawing on facilitators to “translate languages” to manage the relationship and aligning the innovation and research strategy to maximize the collaboration.
Key facts for thriving innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems at universities, the importance of professional boards for start-ups and early-stage companies, and the benefits of an open entrepreneurship model – all these points were covered by Jes Broeng, Professor and Director at DTU Entrepreneurship, as he addressed the audience and explained how world-class research can be turned into world-class companies.
The event included also a one-day hackathon for biomedical engineering. Led by Technion Israel Institute of Technology, the BME-hackathon invited participants to experience the challenges of establishing a biomedical start-up, within international teams.
École Polytechnique and Institut Polytechnique de Paris students who participated in the hackathon were even amongst the winners: Slimane Baamara, 2nd year Master’s student at l’Institut Polytechnique de Paris, was part of the team working on pressure ulcer prevention, which won second prize. The team in which Lio Elalouf-Lewiner, 1st year Bachelor’s student at l’X, took part elaborated a venture for dental cavity detection, which was awarded first prize.
The EuroTech start-up competition closed the event. Twelve start-ups linked to EuroTech universities’ ecosystems pitched their ventures to the audience who designated the winners.
The Innovation Day event will soon be available for replay on the website of the Drahi-X Novation Center. In the meantime, you can already watch the testimonies of École Polytechnique’s speakers at the event here.
The detailed program of EuroTech's Innovation Day.