Adapter helps to find a partner among universities
- 04. December 2020
Adapter is a cooperation network between Estonian universities and research and development institutions, in which 15 research institutions and more than 3,500 research experts participate. Kristel Reim, the head of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center of the University of Tartu, spoke about how the whole process works, when the researcher’s help may be needed and what exciting ideas have started between the researcher and the entrepreneur.
The adapter helps to connect different parties, i.e. it is a gateway through which companies and organizations can turn to universities and research institutes for advice on how to use science-based solutions in product development.
Started at a co-operation festival
The Adapter Network was presented for the first time on the 6th of October 2016 at a collaboration festival organized by universities and research and development institutions. Every year, the festival brings together entrepreneurs from different fields of activity and researchers who develop modern solutions and developments.
Currently, the Adapter network includes 15 different partners, including all six public universities, as well as research and competence centres. More than 3,500 researchers will take part in various inquiries, and according to Reim, there have been almost 1,000 inquiries during the four years of operation.
In Reim’s experience, this can happen when tests or laboratory tests are needed, but also in the initial phase of full product development. It is important that the more precisely the question is written and the clearer it is to understand who the result is aimed at, the better the researchers will be able to respond.
Reim makes it clear that no question is stupid. “If an entrepreneur thinks that this may be a question that is not important or there is no answer to it anyway, then I still recommend asking rather than leaving it unanswered,” she says.
The issues vary depending on the time. The simplest are probably the ones where a specific experiment is needed, but the content depends very much on what is important for companies at the moment. Various food-related issues are currently on the rise: new food solutions, food testing, health checks, etc. The issues in this area might be on the rise because of last year’s cooperation festival “Everything to food!”, where the focus was on food. This year, 2020, the theme of the cooperation festival was “Healthy Cities”.
Several projects have started from personal need
This is how the kids’ inhaler based on the network technology of Kidsmed OÜ started. The Estonian Academy of Arts gave a helping hand with the product development and so with the work of students and supervisors a convenient medical device with innovative design elements, which combines the best features of a compressor and ultrasonic inhalers was created. This allows fast and efficient spraying of all types of drugs. With the help of network technology, the drug particles are made so small that a uniform mist is formed that reaches the airways.
There are many different examples where researchers and companies have done something exciting in collaboration. Among the most recent examples, Reim points out a robot bar built together with researchers from the University of Tartu, where a robot hand serves drinks. There are also many environmentally friendly ideas, such as the idea of ??making gelatine textiles.
For more details listen to the content marketing show “Researcher Helps” here (in Estonian).