Archive for the ‘Biotechnology & lifesciences’ Category

UNIDO launches International Biotechnology Network (BEST PRACTICE)

May 9, 2010

 

VIENNA, 29 March 2010 – An International Industrial Biotechnology Network (IIBN), to assist the accessing and developing biotechnologies for sustainable industrial development, is being launched at a Symposium hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna today.

 IIBN will add economic value to underutilized or unexplored biological resources through the use of novel biotechnology techniques and processes. It seeks to catalyze South-South and North-South partnerships between public research institutions, industry and regulatory agencies committed to sharing expertise and technology to generate economic value from biodiversity. “We need to create strong linkages between agriculture and industry and the importance of applying science and technology to agricultural production processes,” said UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, during his opening statement.

 IIBN will receive EUR 1.25 million as seed money over the next five years through the Flemish Ministry for Innovation, Public Investment, Media and Poverty Reduction (Belgium). IIBN network members are expected to provide counterpart contributions. Participants at the Symposium, including Nobel Prize laureates Richard Roberts and Werner Arber, as well as Marc Van Montagu, the President of the European Federation of Biotechnology.

 The Network welcomes partnerships with other public research organizations, governmental institutions and the private sector from industrialized countries, as well as developing nations.

 Angles for Cockatoo members

  • Are you in an industrialised nation, and wondering where you fit in, particularly in the USA – the world-leader in biotech? Go to http://indbiotech.net/
  • Think about how the Sunrise Program might facilitate UNIDO’s objectives.
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Cairns Institute – Tropical Innovation Hub

January 12, 2010

As we’ve highlighted for months, if you’re looking for federal largesse, think HUBS.

Here is another – a $44 million world-class institute dedicated to research and innovation for tropical Australia – with 125 research staff – to be built in Cairns. The Rudd Government is providing $19.5 million in capital costs, and a further $8.75 million for research infrastructure. The Institute will be located at James Cook University’s Cairns Campus, which will contribute a further $15.8 million. The focus is on marine and climate science, public health, social & community welfare, tourism & indigenous development.

The concept was first tossed around 5 years ago by CREDC – phone hook-ups with people like Tracy Scott-Rimington (CREDC) and Jim Bitomsky (Kleinhardt Consulting), followed by a concept paper used by CREDC to drum up interest. I said then that JCU had to be the champion. But things moved sideways for a couple of years, and it seems the powers within JCU had ‘internalised’ the project.

 Some salutary lessons – getting projects off the ground requires a lengthy gestation period for ideas to be worked up to a viable and agreed stage. You also need a business plan for the banks and/or government agencies. And you need political patronage – Kim Carr’s prints are all over this project.

 P.S. CREDC was axed two years ago. It was always one of the most effective RDOs in Australia – Ecofish, Super Yachts, Tourism, hosting a great TCI cluster conference etc. Tracy, Jim and I are not seeking any glory on the Hub getting up – just a wider understanding that collaboration does win out eventually.

Victor Harbor aged care (BEST PRACTICE)

October 16, 2009

 Silverhawk muses above about how local communities might attract business and government marbles rolling around the landscape.

 Well here is a great example. Victor Harbor – aka known as ‘Victor’ – is a typical seaside town. It is where the pride of South Australia lost its innocence in hot summers long gone. Some have now retired there with a wistful gaze and a rug on their laps. (My in-laws live there!).

 Anyway, Graeme Maxwell et al at Victor Harbor Council explain they have the oldest age cohort in Australia (54.1 years), an excellent hospital (albeit a shortage of GPs), and now a priority rollout of the National Broadband Network. We got talking about the potential of these factors to underpin a health care precinct.

The vision splendid – research associated with an ageing population (Flinders Uni has a rural clinical school there), clinical trials for drugs for elderly patients, design and manufacture of gophers, wheelchairs, rehab devices etc., alternative medicine, web-based businesses, golf courses, walking trails, adventure tourism, knowledge-based outdoor jobs for youths. And a more balanced population age structure.

You don’t need to be prescriptive – the investors will determine the specific business activity. But th locals need to remove impediments and get the right mix of infrastructure to support these businesses.

But my vision doesn’t get much encouragement from the SA Government’s 30-year plan for Greater Adelaide. It makes scarce reference to Victor. I actually rang the folk in the Department of Planning & Local Government to check that Victor (one hour’s drive from Adelaide) is inside the geographic scope of this exercise. When I was assured that the answer was ‘yes’, I respectfully suggested that they could look a bit more closely at Victor. They obviously thought I was being a smart-arse because the line went dead.

But the 30-year plan certainly talks about health and wellbeing, business clusters and growth corridors. Is the SA Government leaving it to the invisible hand of the market to fill in the details? From my experience of tracking how entrepreneurial hot spots emerge, there are usually three success factors.

  • A trigger via a new piece of infrastructure that gels with other economic and social infrastructure to establish a locational advantage – the NBN roll-out might be that trigger.
  • Local champions to raise awareness and press buttons – to connect to external champions. Coincidentally, the 3 federal Ministers relevant to health care are women (Macklin, Roxon, Gillard) as are the 2 state ministers (Lomax-Smith, Rankine). And 7 of the 10 councilors are also female! 
  • A collaborative structure that can connect the dots – the Fleurieu RDB is being formed.

Czechs move on clusters

February 10, 2009

 

The Czech Republic’s first biotech cluster, CzechBio, was formed in December 2008 – involves 20 private companies and research institutions, including the Czech Academy of Sciences.

A goal is to build a National Centre for Biotechnological Production.

‘In the whole of Europe there are only a handful of these centres and construction of one here would substantially accelerate research and sales,” says Marek Moša, chairman of CzechBio.

More details at First cluster of biotechnology firms established in the Czech Republic

Aquaculture – invitation from Chennai

January 15, 2009

 

I read with great interest about your Cockatoo Network. Our prime areas of interest are Aquaculture (Barramundi Aquafarming) and Marine Biotechnology (production of Chitin & Chitosan).

 

Maritech has been involved in development, implementing and operating Aquaculture projects since 1989 in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, etc. as Project Consultants.  We have played a key role in transfer of technology in India during the boom days in early 1990s.

 

Barramundi farming & Marine Biotechnology have a large scope & potential in India.  We are keen to cooperate with your network to establish collaboration and investment in India. Also, there is some interest among Indian investors to look for potential in Aquaculture in various South East Asian countries.

 

Let me know how we can collaborate with you.

 

Contributed by S. Santhana Krishnan, Chief Executive, Marine Technologies

37, 1st Street, Anna Colony, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090, INDIA Tel.91-44-4551 1214

 

(Certain Cockatoo members have already replied, and networking activity is underway – Editor)

 

Life Sciences network begins in Melbourne (BEST PRACTICE)

November 12, 2008

 

Hi Cockatoo, trust you are well.  I’d be grateful if you could make mention of the new network that has been established in Melbourne recently, the ICT for Life Sciences Forum. http://ict4lifesciences.org.au/

 

Much has been written in recent years about the so called convergence of difference disciplines and the medical and life sciences and how this convergence has the potential to lead to new breakthroughs that could impact health and welfare. In 2006 the Victoria Research Laboratory of NICTA, with funding support from the State Government, undertook to build a new research program which would demonstrate the enabling benefits that ICT could bring to the medical and life sciences. 

 

Computing and engineering can now be increasingly applied to address issues facing medical and life sciences researchers. These range from providing superior productivity – for example, by speeding up the time it takes to analyse masses of data – to taking advantages offered by the microelectronics revolution to enable the emerging field of medical bionics, where implants and prostheses are able to sense the performance of bodily functions and in some cases restore their function.

 

We are recruiting a large pool of engineering and PhD students, approximately 50, to undertake research on how engineering can enable medical research.  This is an exciting development, but it has its challenges, the foremost of which is the communication required in this multidisciplinary collaboration. This has led us to work with research institutions, mostly in Melbourne, involved in multidisciplinary research.  

 

The principal focus of the ICT for Life Sciences Forum is to network local researchers from the different research disciplines. 

 

The prospect of breakthroughs from multidisciplinary research will only remain a prospect unless the doers – the research scientists – can effectively work together and understand each other.  We are hoping that by networking researchers across Melbourne, we might start to see the benefits emerge downstream with novel solutions in the market. 

 

There is a lot of excitement about the initiative among the research community, and we will be holding many events and presentations in the coming year.  We held what will become the Forum’s major annual event, the Graeme Clark Oration, in late October. The Oration honours the work and achievement of Professor Graeme Clark, the inventor of the bionic ear. His perseverance and achievement should serve an inspiration for young researchers. Your support in raising the profile of the Forum would be very much appreciated.

 

Regards, Luan Ismahil, Melbourne – luan.ismahil@nicta.com.au

Another big Irish success (BEST PRACTICE)

August 26, 2008

 

August 5, 2008: Abiomed is to establish a Global Manufacturing facility for its Impella 2.5 cardiac assist device in Athlone, Co Westmeath, creating 250 jobs over five years. Abiomed is the market leader in cardiac-assist technology. Three factors influenced the decision – infrastructural facilities; high number of Irish medical device component supply companies; the quality of living and working environment.

 

As usual, IDA Ireland has been coy about the assistance it has provided.

 

The Minister said ‘we faced strong global competition for the investment…the Midlands (Ireland) record of success with companies in the medical technologies industry, the availability of a highly skilled workforce and the proximity to the Athlone Institute of Technology are not just major attractions to Abiomed but to many other innovative-driven multinational companies of the same calibre.” 

 

Michael R. Minogue, Chairman, then added MORE reasons – “we chose this Ireland location because it simply met our primary criteria – a great building with existing clean room space, a great workforce, and a strong supplier network.”

Cluster links to India and USA (BEST PRACTICE)

June 24, 2008

 

A key success factor in investment attraction is the ability of localities to connect their knowledge, competencies and people.

We are thus in talks with agencies in India and the USA to link networks and clusters across borders – to enhance the connectivity of companies and researchers, and strengthen competitive advantages of towns and regions.

The key problem being addressing is the ’hit and miss’ involved in innovation and commercial deals. This is why development agencies and companies spend a lot of time connecting people via meetings, conferences, newsletters, websites, investment missions etc.

For example, millions of IT executives and their staffs compete daily to win business and to position themselves in each others’ markets. They crave knowledge about who is letting contracts, and which local companies they should be getting close to. This is a costly and time-consuming activity, only a small percentage of firms are amenable to joint ventures at any given time, and trust is not generated overnight. Wouldn’t it be easier with an on-the-ground ally?

We are thus identifying networks that are serious and active about collaboration and two-way investment. The aim is to have a multi-country platform to connect the key agencies within particular industries. Initial focus is on aquaculture; auto parts; biofuels; biotech; dairy foods; electronics; environmental management; food manufacturing; healthcare; information technology; marine engineering; telecommunications; textiles.

 

Contact us at apd@orac.net.au for further details.

Pharmaceuticals – how competitive is China and India?

June 24, 2008

 

New research sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation depicts the rise of China and India as emerging powers in pharmaceuticals R&D.

 

The study notes that leading big pharma firms, like Merck and Eli Lilly, now rely heavily on Indian and Chinese partners for high value R&D. But the study concludes that it’s too early to say if India and China will become major sources of new drugs. Local firms lack capital and distribution channels and are thus heavily reliant on partnerships with existing global market leaders. However both countries are making impressive strides.  

 

Go to The Globalization of Innovation: Pharmaceuticals, Can China and India Cure the Global Pharmaceuticals Market?, by Vivek Wadha. 

Anyone for investment tie-ups with Australia?

June 2, 2008

 

The Cockatoo Network, which I manage, is recognised globally for its efforts to build collaboration and alliances. Our main fields are industry development, investment attraction and innovation.

In our experience, the strongest success factor in investment attraction is the ability of localities to connect their knowledge, competencies, resources and people – both internally and externally.

With respect to the external dimension, we are in discussions with development agencies in India and the USA to link networks and clusters across different localities. We believe this will significantly enhance the connectivity of companies and research organisations, as well as the competitive advantages of the towns and regions concerned.

The particular problem we are addressing is the large element of ’hit and miss’ involved in innovation and commercial deals. This is intuitively understood by development agencies and companies, which is why they spend a lot of time connecting people via meetings, conferences, newsletters, websites, investment missions etc.

Take the example of the IT sector, where millions of executives and their staff worldwide compete daily to win business and to position themselves in each others’ markets. They crave knowledge about which agencies are letting contracts, who are the key decision-makers, and which local companies they should be getting close to. This is a costly and time-consuming activity because only a small percentage of firms are amenable to joint ventures or deals at a given time, and trust is not generated overnight. Wouldn’t life be easier if you had an agency on-the-ground to assist?

We are therefore in the process of identifying those networks that are serious and active about collaboration and two-way investment. The aim is to have a multi-country platform that identifies and connects the key agencies within particular industries. Our initial focus is on aquaculture, automotive parts, biofuels, biotech; dairy foods, electronics, environmental management; food manufacturing; healthcare; information technology; marine engineering; telecommunications; textiles.

 We will be travelling to India and the USA – and then progressively to Thailand, Europe and other nations to complete our feasibility study. We are looking for potential collaborators. If you have a common interest, we surely would like to hear from you!

Rod Brown, Cockatoo Network, Canberra phone 61-2-62317261 or apd@orac.net.au