Photo/Credits: ReConStallation/Vladimir Petrov
The project described below was started during the Online Sciathon 2020. In this guest article, Lindau Alumnus and Sciathon group leader Vladimir Petrov describes how a project like this could offer an „ultimate pill against research fatigue, lack of funding and scarcity of innovation.“ In 2022, he runs company of the same name as the project described below with a different focus.
Academic research work is significantly undervalued, and there is an incredibly obvious reason why: Scientists dedicate their life to tirelessly investigating problems while also competing with time. The essential desire to do good multiplied by uncountable weekends, holidays and birthdays sacrificed for research makes every scholar an exceptional expert. It is absolutely right that nobody knows her topic better than she, the one behind that finally published glossy paper. And yet, the brutal realisation comes after the fleeting excitement: a lot of time has gone, the grant is close to the end, the new application deadline is tomorrow, as it always has been…
Self-expression, catharsis, altruism, activism and curiosity, community good and the chance to share opinions with a sympathetic listener are fabulous stimuli for a researcher, too. Still, these elements are not long-lasting friends for a scientist. What we need for satisfaction is tangible results. But science is not entrepreneurship: not everyone can develop an original recipe for baking a delicious cake and also run a flourishing and profitable bakery.
Baking Actual Cakes
The industrial sector is competent in following a recipe – employing scientific theory – to create actual cakes to sell in a bakery. Sadly, existing science-business interaction is hardly noticeable. Even those liaison or industry relation programs which exist at some universities cannot cope with this problem efficiently. They are more reminiscent of disconnected villages than a modern supermarket: One has to go a long way to collect all ingredients for the bakery.
Within and after the Online Sciathon 2020, after numerous discussions with industry professionals and liaison heads, literature review and simple tests, we finally found a perfect way to solve this issue. First and foremost, the problem has to be addressed utilising an integrated approach. It must consider all needs, interests and capacities of both academic and industrial realms.
Three Essential Pillars
In a nutshell, our solution rests on three essential pillars:
- events, where the research world provides first-hand insights into their discoveries in an intuitive and industry-adapted way, as well as industry representatives, express their research needs;
- an open access journal focused on 1-2-page long industry-adapted papers submitted by the research community and reviewed by industry experts;
- a web-platform supplied with efficient management serving as the hub for collaborations and a gateway between the academic and industrial worlds.
I believe that with the Lindau community, where the best academic minds of all generations come together, we can finally overcome the gap between science and industry. Now, as we are forced to keep physical distance from each other, it is the best time to constitute solid virtual bridges and convert the grand scale of the problem into an even bigger range of societal, industrial and academic benefits. At ReConStellation, we call for new members of our growing community who can help the initiative to skyrocket. If you are a great storyteller, web-technology guru or a professional event organiser – join the team and shape the true 21st century of science!